Most readers will recall “Cooler and Warmer” – the phrase at the heart of the much-maligned Rhode Island tourism campaign unveiled in 2016.
Due to its hefty price tag, out-of-state development and clumsy, confusing roll-out, the slogan drew ire from across the Ocean State and beyond. It became a particular target on social media, and even drew coverage in national outlets such as the New York Times. That some of the campaign’s materials included video footage taken in Iceland did not help matters in the least.
Days ago, the state’s new tourism campaign – using the tagline “Fun-Sized” – garnered its first headlines after a quiet November launch.
Providence-based Nail Communications was hired by the Rhode Island Commerce Corp. to develop the campaign, which currently includes eight seven-second videos – with several more planned – highlighting destinations and activities across Rhode Island. One shows people kayaking in Wickford. Block Island and Jamestown’s Beavertail State Park also take center stage in their own installments, each of which begins with a closeup before zooming out to a birds-eye view.
“Everyone who goes on vacation is looking to have fun,” reads the campaign’s introduction on the Commerce Corp.’s website visitrhodeisland.com. “Of course everyone’s idea of fun is different. Which is why Rhode Island just might be the perfect vacation destination. Because we pack almost every type of fun you can imagine into the smallest state in the union. That’s what makes us Fun-Sized; you can experience all that fun in just one visit.”
Will the ads have the desired effect? Time will tell. Countless destinations across the nation and world are vying for the same travelers being targeted with the “Fun-Sized” campaign.
But we are impressed with what we have seen thus far and pleased to see South County destinations included. State officials were clearly determined to learn from the mistakes of “Cooler and Warmer,” and it appears – thus far – they have done so.
Opinions will differ, of course, and no slogan or marketing campaign will ever please everyone. Some Rhode Islanders may chafe at the idea of highlighting the state’s small size as part of a branding strategy. Others seem inclined to disparage their home state at any opportunity and will undoubtedly seize upon this one.
Regardless, the “Fun-Sized” campaign has gotten people talking. Let’s hope that includes people beyond our borders – and that they’re making plans to pay us a visit.