Rhode Island is Neither a Road Nor an Island — Nor Iceland. Discuss.

With no apologies to the Coffee Talk sketches which were performed by Mike Myers and used to air on the television program Saturday Night Live from which the idea for the title of this article came, I read this article by Jason of MilesQuest which referred to this article written by Matt O’Brien and Jennifer McDermott of the Associated Press about how an image from Iceland was used in a video as part of a new five million dollar marketing campaign to attract both tourism and business to the state of Rhode Island.

Rhode Island is Neither a Road Nor an Island — Nor Iceland. Discuss.

Gina Raimondo — who is the governor of Rhode Island — reportedly accepted the resignation of the top marketing official for the state, stating that the amount of mistakes made in the tourism campaign rollout were unacceptable; and that 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.

Does Rhode Island have so little to offer that an image of a skateboarder in front of the Harpa concert hall in Reykjavik — the capital city of Iceland — had to be placed in the video? Is the smallest state in the United States — where you have to go out of your way to drive greater than 70 miles to go from one end of the state to the other, taking no more than two hours at the most — so large that someone simply could not drive to find a skateboarder and photograph him or her?

Tourism officials of the state promptly yanked the video off of YouTube on Tuesday, as it was mocked on social media and eventually was reported in the news around the world.

Both the error and controversy are of many with which the marketing campaign was fraught.


I would also be angry — and embarrassed — as well if I was involved with the development of this marketing campaign.

When I read that $100,000.00 for work by a marketing firm that has coordinated the effort and $20,000.00 for the cost of the video by a subcontractor are being returned to the state, I was wondering why the state of Iceland — er…I meant Rhode Island — did not instead hire me. Does it really matter that although I have been to Rhode Island more than once that it is the only state in which I have never stayed overnight? After all, the marketing official who resigned lives in Massachusetts; and Milton Glaser — the veteran designer who developed the tagline Cooler & Warmer — is based in New York; and they worked on the official marketing campaign for Rhode Island. I would have worked with more due diligence at less cost to the state — and that would include travel.

Then again, the Transportation Security Administration never did take me up on my offer to save the beleaguered federal agency 66 percent on a similar endeavor for an initiative that would have cost taxpayers three million dollars — despite my having earned a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in communication design from one of the top rated art schools in the world…

…but in the meantime, do not count on finding svið — the Icelandic dish which consists of the head of a sheep cut in half, boiled with the brain removed and served on a plate for your consumption — easily in Rhode Island anytime soon…

Source: Rhode Island Commerce Corporation.

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