In an out-of-this-world marketing ploy, the Lexington Convention and Visitors Bureau (VisitLEX) has beamed a message into deep space intended to lure extraterrestrial tourists to the city.
The infrared laser message was transmitted from the Kentucky Horse Park toward potentially habitable planets in the TRAPPIST-1 solar system located 40 light years away. It will take 40 years for the message to reach its destination, and around another 40 years for any reply.
“We believe Lexington is the best place on Earth,” said Mary Quinn Ramer, President of VisitLEX, in a statement. “It’s the ideal location for extraterrestrial travelers to begin exploring our world.”
The message highlights Lexington’s natural bluegrass landscapes as ideal for spacecraft landings. It also boasts about the city being named one of America’s friendliest by Conde Nast, as well as having top-notch food, bourbon, music and arts.
The ad was put together by a team spearheaded by Dr. Robert Lodder, an expert in astrobiology. Experts in several fields like engineering, linguistics, and science fiction collaborated to design the message. It contains photos and audio recordings showcasing Lexington, as well as a coded bitmap image with clues about humanity.
While the project won’t pay dividends for over 80 years minimum, VisitLEX believes it demonstrates forward-thinking marketing. “While other DMOs are looking to Artificial Intelligence as the future of travel, we’re thinking even further ahead and looking to deep space,” Ramer said.
In the meantime, VisitLEX has put together an “Extraterrestrial’s Guide to Lexington” for earthling visitors. Artifacts from this campaign are also on display at the Lexington Visitor Center.
So even if no little green men show up soon, this cosmic marketing approach has certainly helped VisitLEX reach for the stars.