Blogs | Ethan Shorey

A few suggestions for RI’s rebranding effort

Like a TV show that gains steam after the first awkward episode, sometimes promotional campaigns that elicit a negative first reaction can also find their way in this world.

I’m a sucker for commercials that tell me to come somewhere. Tim Allen’s dulcet tones on those “Pure Michigan” commercials make me want to hop in a Prius for a cross-country trip. And I don’t even play golf.

I want to love Rhode Island’s new $5 million marketing campaign, and there are parts of it that show promise, but most people would probably agree that it could use some help. Here are a few initial reactions and suggestions if the powers that be are still open to changing things up.

• Find a way to make the logo display nicely on social media platforms. The picture above shows what it looks like on Facebook. It’s a lot of white. As Paul Spetrini suggested on Twitter, maybe we're going for "Cooley land."

• If you like the “Cooler and Warmer” slogan, stick with it. The first promo video released makes no mention of it, which isn't a good sign for a rebranding campaign dependent on getting a catchy tagline to stick. If “We Are Rhode Island” is the choice, go with that. If you like “We’re an ocean of possibility,” sail with that. Personally, I like “Rhode Island: You’re just minutes away.” I heard it on a talk show and it perfectly sums up one of the main reasons I love this state.

• No matter what your budget is, there are things you can do with video to make it smarter and snappier. Why are the “innovators” and “makers” of the state all represented by one man with a sander? I suggest that makers be members of the state's blossoming craft beer scene. Also, why doesn't the pizza shot capture a delicious pizza coming OUT of the oven with flames behind it? People eat with their eyes.

• Maybe the next commercial could be done entirely in Rhode Island? There’s not a single scene (that I can tell) from the northern part of the state (we’re still here!), but somehow there's space to incorporate Iceland.

UPDATE: The video was pulled on Tuesday afternoon after the revelation that the Iceland footage got in.

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