The Mustang Heritage Foundation (MHF) puts on several Extreme Mustang Makeover (EMM) events per year in its effort to educate the public about America’s wild mustang population problem and find newly trained horses permanent homes. The EMM visited Lexington, Ky., in June of 2018 with a goal of adopting out about 100 horses. While the event was held in an urban area, the main challenge was attracting attendees with the land and facilities to house horses.
Only .6% of Americans own horses and far less are actively seeking a new one, our team recognized it needed to put together a marketing and public relations campaign that transcended Kentucky and reached the surrounding states to find well-qualified adopters. However, it also was important to attract a general audience that might become interested in donating to the MHF. To drive attendance and raise awareness, we:
- Created calendar postings on Lexington media websites advertising the event.
- Drafted a human interest story about a couple training wild mustangs for the event in the neighboring state of West Virginia.
- Identified the best media targets and story angles, and pitched the story to the Lexington and West Virginia markets as well as to horse trade publications.
The MHF opted to return to Lexington in 2019 based on results and partnered with Marketwave to handle the public outreach as well as other events in Ocala, Fla., and Fort Worth, Texas. The buildup to the 2018 Lexington event:
- Secured media coverage: The Washington Post, four TV news stories and four print stories, including a 4.5-minute segment on the Lexington ABC affiliate’s Good Day Kentucky.
- Total views: 91,353 total views with 55,700 coming from TV reports.
- Advertising value equivalency: coverage was valued at $10,520.
- Social media engagement: 27 shares and 315 likes among posts by media outlets covering the EMM.