Millions needed for Ky. Super Bowl ad

By Christine Powell

A crowd-funded 2012 Super Bowl commercial highlighting Kentucky is the goal for one UK graduate and two Kentucky natives.

Kent Carmichael, Whit Hiler and Griffin VanMeter want to change the stereotypes of Kentucky. People who haven’t lived in Kentucky can sometimes see the state in a negative light — through jokes about not wearing shoes, having little to no education and marrying siblings.

“We want the world to see Kentucky in a different light; that we offer a lot,” Hiler said.

In order to show the most people how great Kentucky is, they are raising $3.5 million in 60 days for a Super Bowl commercial.

The trio has set up a Facebook page and a website,, and as of Wednesday, Kentucky for Kentucky has raised $65,925. The group collects pledges from $1 to $10,000.

Hiler said that they’ve received a lot of questions about what happens to the money ifthe entire amount isn’t raised by Nov. 7. He said if this happens, people won’t be charged for their pledge. Those who donate will receive everything from a high five and Kentucky pride to a spot in the Super Bowl commercial in exchange for their pledges.

Those outside of Kentucky might know about the Derby or Kentucky Fried Chicken; Kentucky gave the world Diane Sawyer, Hunter S. Thompson, George Clooney, Johnny Depp, Muhammad Ali, Darrell Waltrip, Abraham Lincoln and Jefferson Davis, just to name a few. Four vice presidents and two Supreme Court justices were also native Kentuckians.

If it wasn’t for Kentucky natives, there wouldn’t be a “Happy Birthday” song. (The melody comes from the song “Good Morning to All,” which Louisvillian sisters Patty and Mildred J. Hill composed in 1893.)

UK graduate Patrick Barker said one of the greatest things about Kentucky is that it is so diverse.

“There are so many types of geography of Kentucky: the mountains in the eastern part of the state, the city life in Louisville and in the north, the horse farms in the central part, the cave system in the south,” he said. “There’s such a variance of what you can do in Kentucky.”

Kentucky offers Ale-8-One, the Berea Craft Festival, the National Corvette Museum, the largest developed park system in the country, numerous wineries and bourbon.

The Kentucky for Kentucky Facebook page has become a place for people to share stories and information about Kentucky as well as favorite places to visit around the state.

Matthew Lytle, an agriculture communications senior, said that this campaign shows how proud Kentuckians are to call the state their home.