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State Seal Commonwealth of Kentucky Governor Ernie Fletcher’s Communications Office
Branding Campaign ‘A Very Positive Way to Improve the State’s Image,’ Voters Say
Press Release Date:  November 16, 2004

Doug Hogan
Jeannie Lausche
Jason Keller


Frankfort, KY: Nearly 45,000 votes have been cast to date for a new Kentucky brand, and public response has been overwhelmingly supportive.

“I think this is a very positive way to improve the state’s image,” said Chantal Plank, of New Holland, Pa., who voted for “Kentucky – Unbridled Spirit.”  Ms. Plank, who voted at the Florence Welcome Center in Northern Kentucky, said she liked the public-involvement angle, “making choosing the new brand very personal for people by offering them the chance to pick what they feel Kentucky means to them.” 

To Ms. Plank, “Unbridled Spirit” is the best fit because “I have always thought of Kentucky as the state with heart.”

Pat Ekdahl of Russell Springs, Ky., agreed with Ms. Plank’s choice.  “I have lived in Kentucky for five years, and it is the spirit of the people I have been blessed to meet and work with that keep me here,” Ms. Ekdahl wrote on a postcard explaining her vote.  “Also, it seems that in racing, the spirit of the winner is a high contributing factor.”

Karen McNutt of Gig Harbor, Wash., was traveling through Kentucky and had stopped at the Bullitt County Welcome Center on her way south when the ballot box caught her eye.  She said she chose “Kentucky – Where Legends Are Born” because “I liked the explanation (that) great heroes have come from Kentucky, and the dedicated spirit of the pioneers of Kentucky who never gave up, no matter what came their way.  Today, the pride of Kentucky shows everywhere you look.  I am very impressed with the state of Kentucky.”

Another visitor to the Bullitt County Welcome Center, Gary Taul of La Grange, Ky., liked “Unbridled Spirit” because of its allusion to horses, “hopefully causing the subconscious to kick in, rather than a passive reaction to an obvious statement.” Mr. Taul said his family “has been here since the beginning of the state,” so his love of Kentucky is deep. “I think of the state as a mediator – southern hospitality with northern work ethic. Outside the state people I meet remember its beautiful landscape, but perceive us as backwards. It does need help with its image, but not its culture.”

Votes are being accepted online at, at all state welcome centers, state resort parks, the Kentucky Horse Park in Lexington, the Kentucky Artisan Center in Berea, and the Kentucky History Center in Frankfort, and by mail to the state capitol. 

Allen Thompson, supervisor of the Shelby County Welcome Center near Simpsonville, said interest has been strong.  “We’ve gotten people all the way from the west coast to the east coast, and since Friday (Nov. 5) we’ve gotten our ballot box almost half-full,” he said recently.  “So it’s really going well and people are really looking at the individual choices in making their picks.”

Lexington’s J.D. Tolson cast his vote for “Unbridled Spirit” at Blue Licks Battlefield State Park in Robertson County.  “The reason I chose the one I did was because my perception of Kentucky is we have no restrictions and have no need for anyone to steer us,” he said.  “We are quite capable of reaching unknown heights on our own.”

Governor Ernie Fletcher unveiled the branding campaign on Oct. 26 with four brand options, saying a new brand was needed to unify Kentucky’s marketing and advertising efforts.

In an unprecedented move, the Governor announced that the public would have the final say on which brand would represent Kentucky. 

Two brand options have been eliminated, and time is running out for people to make their opinions known on the two finalists that remain.  “Kentucky – Limitless” was voted out of the running on Nov. 5. Round Two resulted in the elimination of “Kentucky – Make History” on Nov. 12. The third and final round of voting ends on Nov. 21.  Governor Fletcher will announce the winning brand on Nov. 24. 

Find out more about the brand process and view the brands with their logos at

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Last updated: Thursday, June 02, 2005