Rhode Island Will Revamp Its Marketing Campaign After a Disastrous Roll Out

Promotional video included footage from Iceland

Headshot of Kristina Monllos

Earlier this week, Rhode Island unveiled a new marketing campaign for the state. The effort from the Rhode Island Commerce Corporation, Havas and famed designer Milton Glaser was swiftly met with criticism from Ocean State natives.

Betsy Wall, who served as chief marketing officer for the Rhode Island Commerce Corporation has resigned. The campaign, which was meant to drive tourism, create jobs and help boost the state's economy, will be retooled. 

"It's unacceptable how many mistakes were made in this roll out," Rhode Island Governor Gina Raimondo reportedly said of the campaign. "We need to hold people accountable because Rhode Islanders deserve better. Taxpayers deserve better, and too many mistakes were made."

While the state's new logo and tagline, "Cooler and Warmer," were widely panned by state residents, it's likely the botched marketing video that led to Wall's resignation. The video made national headlines because it briefly featured footage from Iceland instead of Rhode Island.

The campaign's tagline, "Cooler and Warmer," will be replaced, but the state's new logo designed by Glaser will remain. 

Raimondo also told Rhode Islanders that local ad agency IndieWhip will return more than $20,000 to the state for producing the bungled video. And Havas, the creative lead, will give back an additional $100,000. 

While speaking with Adweek earlier this week, Wall explained the campaign was "telling the story very authentically about a very authentic and unique place," and that she expected it to be "embraced by Rhode Islanders."

The Rhode Island Commerce Corporation and Havas did not immediately respond to requests for comment. 

@KristinaMonllos kristina.monllos@adweek.com Kristina Monllos is a senior editor for Adweek.