Ringing the victory bell at both McClain and Hillsboro high schools, getting your name on a giant sign, picking up some delicious food at a myriad of area restaurants, getting a glimpse of history at the historical society’s Pioneer Days celebration, taking in nature at Rocky Fork Lake, and topping it off with a nice round of disc golf, with some bowling thrown in, sounds like a lot to handle in a 24-hour period.
But it was just a typical day in the life of Internet sensation and Rocky River, Ohio native Joey Kinsley, better known to his thousands of TikTok, Instagram, and YouTube followers as “Sir Yacht”.
Kinsley’s popularity and knack for producing viral videos featuring towns in Ohio inspired Jamie Wheeler, Visitors Bureau of Highland County executive director, to begin talks back in February to sponsor a trip for Kinsley to come to Highland County to make videos featuring local places of interest. Once, “approved by the board,” Kinsley’s whirlwind tour of Highland County finally came to fruition in August, and the resultant videos, featuring Hillsboro, Greenfield and Highland County as respective themes, premiered last week on the social media platforms Instagram and TikTok, on the latter of which Kinsley has, as of this writing, over 385,000 followers under his moniker, Sir Yacht.
Kinsley turned his talent for making “town videos” into a full-time endeavor after having been, “let go of (his) full-time job because of Covid in February.” Kinsley said that Mayor Cat Miller of Struthers, Ohio saw his TikToks, “and asked me to…make a promotional video for the town.” The ensuing 600,000 views that the video received, Kinsley said, spawned further demand for his uniquely styled content. Kinsley said that to date he has made, “probably about 60 videos” featuring Ohio towns.
Kinsley remarked of his recent experience that, “I really enjoyed my time in Hillsboro and Highland County,” and that, “I especially enjoyed how outdoorsy it is. Hillsboro is a town full of amazing people that treated me very well. So much to do and I definitely will be back.”
Wheeler said that the type of content that Kinsley produces is an ideal match for helping to promote Highland County to a younger demographic, and talks began back in February to sponsor his trip to Highland County. Wheeler said that the way Kinsley’s visit came into play was a result of the Visitors Bureau’s attempt to, “expand their marketing” beyond traditional modalities such as radio and print. Capturing the interest of a younger generation, Wheeler said, is something that continues to be important going forward. She said the inclusion of nontraditional media in its efforts to promote Highland County is part of an intentional strategy to, “include all demographics” in its advertising communications.
“Our goal is to bring people to Highland County and experience all that we have to offer,” Wheeler said.
Sir Yacht’s videos of Hillsboro, Greenfield, Highland County and many other Ohio towns, can be accessed at https://www.instagram.com/siryacht or https://www.tiktok.com/@siryacht.
Juliane Cartaino is a stringer for The Times-Gazette.