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Executive Quits Over Iceland’s Cameo in Rhode Island Ad

Rhode Island State HouseRhode Island State House
Rhode Island State House.Aimin Tang—Getty Images

A botched promotional campaign for Rhode Island that included a video that showed Reykjavik, Iceland, rather than the state capitol of Providence, has led to the resignation of a top marketing official, Governor Gina Raimondo said.

The smallest U.S. state will also recoup $120,000 it spent on the development of the video, which was released this week and was quickly mocked online for a brief clip showing a skateboarder outside Reykjavik’s iconic Harpa concert hall.

“It’s unacceptable how many mistakes were made in this roll-out and we need to hold people accountable, because Rhode Islanders deserve better, taxpayers deserve better,” Raimondo told reporters late Friday.

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Raimondo earlier in the week had played down the significance of the mistakes in the campaign, but reversed course after state residents lambasted the ad, and its slogan “cooler and warmer,” on Twitter (TWTR) and in local media.

Betsy Wall has resigned as marketing director of the Rhode Island Commerce Corp., which developed the campaign, Raimondo said. Wall could not be reached for immediate comment.

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Raimondo said the state would seek out more public feedback before moving ahead with the promotional campaign.

“‘Cooler and warmer’ is not a tag line that Rhode Islanders like,” she said. “That much is clear.”