Governor defends Rhode Island tourism campaign slogan and video backlash

By Kirsten Glavin

kglavin@abc6.com

@kirstenglavin

PROVIDENCE, RI –  It appears that any press is good press for Rhode Island’s $5–million–dollar “Cooler And Warmer” tourism campaign, even after the state’s promotional video mistakenly showed footage of Iceland.

"Here’s the good news; when people go search Iceland, they’re seeing Rhode Island, so maybe some people will visit us too,” said Governor Gina Raimondo.

She put an optimistic spin on all of the tourism campaign backlash when asked about the criticism, Wednesday afternoon.

"You know look, people make mistakes, I make mistakes. The important thing is to own up to the mistake, fix the mistake, make it better and move on. And that’s what we’re doing,” she told ABC6.

Raimondo also stuck to her guns about the slogan, which has drawn harsh criticism from Rhode Islanders who argue "Cooler and Warmer" is bland, vague and a waste of money.

"I like the logo, I think it’s optimistic,” Raimondo said.

She added she never saw the promo video before it rolled out for the first time at the Commerce Corporation meeting on Monday. She said it was the the corporation’s responsibility to give the final stamp of approval.

The Commerce Corporation has since named IndieWhip as the editing company that put the video together.  Indie whip released a new statement Wednesday, also trying to put a positive spin on the flop.

They stated:

“Over the past 24 hours, we have received an overwhelming amount of support regarding the #WeAreRI Campaign Video, and we can’t thank you enough.

This includes countless submissions from local artists, studios, voiceover talent, and videographers who have kindly shared beautiful footage of Rhode Island with us that had this not happened, we might have never known to exist. We have also had the pleasure of being contacted by various organizations who – regardless of the Reykjavik footage – loved the video and believed it did an exemplary job of showcasing our amazing state.

The reality of the world of art, film, and photography is that mistakes do happen. With keen and quick audience feedback, this type of editing mistake can be corrected easily and in a timely, professional fashion. Along with the State of Rhode Island, we are fully committed to making this video even better, and using the attention to get the new version in front of the eyes of people who may have never had the chance to see the video, or consider visiting Rhode Island.

What we’ve learned is that despite the negative media attention, we have absolutely been shown the cooler and warmer side of Rhode Island, more specifically the thriving Arts Community that deserves all the attention they can get.”