PROVIDENCE, R.I. — The state’s top marketing official, who oversaw the disastrous rollout of a tourism campaign that included a video mistakenly featuring a scene from Iceland, resigned on Friday.
FILE – In a Tuesday, March 29, 2016 file photo, Greg Nemes, of the design firm Work-Shop, displays the new logo for a campaign to attract tourism and business to Rhode Island, during an interview in The Design Office, in Providence, R.I. Rhode Island Gov. Gina Raimondo announced on Friday evening, April 1, 2016, that she had accepted the resignation of Chief Marketing Officer Betsy Wall, after a slew of problems with a new campaign to attract business and tourists, including a scene from a promotional video for Rhode Island featured a clip from a concert hall in Iceland.(AP Photo/Michelle R. Smith, File)
Gov. Gina Raimondo said she accepted Betsy Wall’s resignation and added that the state would drop part of a new logo, the tagline “Cooler Warmer.” The tagline was designed by Milton Glaser, creator of the iconic “I Love NY” logo, but it left many people scratching their heads.
Raimondo, a Democrat, said it was unacceptable how many mistakes were made in the tourism campaign rollout and people need to be held accountable.
“As I dug into it a little bit and realized just how poor of a job was done, I got pretty mad myself,” she said. “These were sloppy, just unacceptable mistakes.”
The video was part of a $5 million integrated campaign to attract tourism and business.
The video, which briefly showed a skateboarder in front of the Harpa concert hall in Iceland’s capital, Reykjavik, was mocked on social media and made international news. Embarrassed state tourism officials quickly yanked it off YouTube on Tuesday.
The Iceland mistake was one of several controversies that dominated discussion in Rhode Island since the tourism campaign rolled out Monday. The scrutiny of the video led to the discovery of numerous errors and outdated material on a newly redesigned tourism website that said Rhode Island is home to 20 percent of the country’s historic landmarks — instead of less than 2 percent.
Raimondo said the state was getting back $120,000 spent on the campaign.
Many residents also were unhappy about the new state logo and the “Cooler Warmer” motto. Raimondo said the motto would be dropped because it “seems to not ring true for the people of Rhode Island.”
But she defended Glaser’s visual design and praised how Rhode Island residents have been adapting the sail-shaped logo with their own interpretations, many poking fun at the campaign or making earnest nods to favorite local places or products.