New Rhode Island Tourism Ad Appears to Use Footage of Iceland

But try getting a plate of calamari like this in Reykjavik.


Rhode Island announced this week its new, $5 million branding campaign, complete with a “Hungry for Apples?“–caliber slogan, “Rhode Island: Cooler and Warmer.” The logo was designed by Milton Glaser, who created the iconic “I Love N.Y.” logo.

“Rhode Islanders know our state is a great place to live, work and visit, and now we are moving forward with an exciting plan to make sure everyone else knows that, too,” Gov. Gina Raimondo said in a release. “By coordinating our resources and working together to highlight Rhode Island, we will attract new visitors, families and businesses and help make our state a place of opportunity for everyone.”

Except, the campaign might not be 100-percent Ocean State.

According to keen-eyed sleuths Coryndon Luxmoore, Greg Nemes, and Phil Eil—all from Providence—a few seconds of the campaign’s new ad appear to have been shot in Iceland, which is, according to sources, not Rhode Island.

About 10 seconds into the ad, someone appears to skateboard near the Harpa Concert Hall and Conference Centre, located in Iceland’s coastal capital, Reykjavik. (Reykjavik is not Providence, Rhode Island’s coast capital, we’re told.) “Imagine a place that feels like home, but holds enough uniqueness that you’re never bored. Everything you’re looking for is here,” a gravely voiced narrator says.

The agency’s art director said in a statement to the Associated Press that he can “assure that all shots” are Rhode Island. A statement issued Tuesday afternoon, the RI Commerce Corporation took a more conciliatory tone.

As the Commerce Corporation put this presentation video together, explicit instructions were given to the local firm that helped with editing to use only Rhode Island footage. A mistake was made. Once the mistake was identified, the video was removed. The video is currently being updated at no cost to the Commerce Corporation or the State of Rhode Island. As the campaign rolls out, we expect to make additional improvements and changes to our promotional materials.

The ad has since been yanked from YouTube, but Raimondo’s tweet containing the video has yet to be deleted.