Media outlets are reporting that Betsy Wall, who served as chief marketing officer for the Rhode Island Commerce Corporation, has resigned in the wake of a botched statewide tourism campaign. A video that was part of Rhode Island’s new $5 million tourism campaign, “Cooler and Warmer,” apparently included footage that was filmed in Iceland.
Gov. Gina Raimondo said she accepted Betsy Wall’s resignation and added that the state would drop the tagline designed by Milton Glaser, creator of the iconic “I Love NY” logo, reports the Associated Press. As the 21st Discover New England Annual Tourism Summit got underway in Newport, the jury is out on whether Visit Rhode Island will keep the sail-shaped logo, newly installed on the website.
What’s it Mean?
“Maybe a cooler place to be in the warmer weather? How’s that?” guessed one man in response to a News10 question on what the tagline could mean. Maybe Rhode Island is positioning itself as the Florida of New England, social media pondered. AP quoted a professional from Atom Media who said, “Usually a slogan is something that people know instantly and understand. I think the fact that you need to understand it could be a little problematic.”
Yanked from YouTube
The video has been withdrawn from YouTube after being mocked on social media for showing a skateboarder in front of the iconic Harpa concert hall in Iceland’s capital, Reykjavik. The video also claimed that Rhode Island is home to 20 percent of the country’s historic landmarks — instead of less than 2 percent.
The governor said taxpayers deserve better. Local media reports that Rhode Island is getting back $120,000 spent on the campaign: $100,000 for work by a marketing firm that has coordinated the effort and $20,000 for the cost of the video by a subcontractor.
Raimondo had picked Wall just over three months ago to lead the campaign. Wall lives in Massachusetts and led its tourism bureau until last year. Read more from AdWeek here.