LEXINGTON, Kentucky – VisitLEX was honored this week with a global award for travel marketing excellence by the Hospitality Sales & Marketing Association International (HSMAI) at the annual Adrian Awards Celebration in New York.

Its Horse Kicks campaign was named a Platinum Medal Winner -- judged to be exceptional by experts in hospitality, travel, tourism and media from more than 800 entries.

Horse Kicks was a partnership between VisitLEX and Lexington-based shoe and cleat artist Marcus Floyd, who studied the art of shoe “decon/recon” at The Shoe Surgeon’s SRGN Academy in Los Angeles. Floyd’s business, Infinite Kustomz LLC, specializes in creating customized and hand-painted sneakers and cleats.

Floyd created a sneaker customization service that turned rare, collectors’ item human sneakers into premium “horseshoes” for the world’s greatest equine athletes.

As a way to celebrate Breeders’ Cup 2022 at Keeneland, a pop-up shop was activated in the heart of downtown Lexington and soon caught the attention of media outlets such as The Washington Post, CNN and the BBC.

Overall, the campaign earned 3 billion media impressions.

“We challenged ourselves to get new audiences talking about Lexington as the Horse Capital of the World,” said Mary Quinn Ramer, president of VisitLEX. “It succeeded beyond our wildest dreams – with top media outlets and social media influencers from around the globe talking about Horse Kicks. And, we were proud to partner with Marcus Floyd to showcase his amazing art to national and international audiences.”

Floyd joined VisitLEX at the awards ceremony.

“When I was first asked to make a sneaker for horses, I thought it was original enough to make waves,” Floyd said. “I never expected it to make the global monsoon that it did. I’ve been featured in every major sneaker blog to fashion pinnacle Vogue magazine. Horse Kicks gave me a platform to share my art with the world, and I intend on creating a new culture in the equine industry with it, one hoof at a time.”

VisitLEX transferred ownership of the Horse Kicks brands to Floyd, who is currently fielding custom orders from around the world. His first order for customized shoes sneakers came from NBA star Luka Dončić of the Dallas Mavericks in partnership with Jordan Brand.

The Adrian Awards, now in their 67th year, are the largest and most prestigious competition in global travel marketing.

“The Adrian Awards celebrate the innovation and ingenuity that fuel our success and recognize the marketing leaders whose extraordinary efforts literally ‘open the doors’ to exploration and excitement,” said Robert A. Gilbert, president and CEO of HSMAI. “Their work inspired the world to get out and create memories through travel, and HSMAI is proud to honor them.”

The Adrian Awards Celebration is a must-attend industry event that annually attracts leading hospitality, travel, and tourism marketing executives and their agencies. Winning entries will be viewable in the winners’ gallery on the Adrian Awards website following the February 13 Celebration.

Visit https://adrianawards.hsmai.org/ for more information on the event and competition.