Art: Getty Images/Milton Glazer via AdWeek
You may have heard that Rhode Island launched a state-branding campaign this spring that garnered too much ridicule to survive more than a couple weeks. Although the Ocean State’s leadership decided to keep the cheery sailboat logo, it ditched the “Cooler and Warmer” slogan, which had generated a tidal wave of spoofs.
Then the state began casting a wider net to gather ideas, with a focus on residents’ stories about why they love Rhode Island. I went to one event on Wednesday.
Here’s how Channel 10 described the initiative: “The Rhode Island Commerce Corporation is inviting residents to share what they love most about the Ocean State as part of its second attempt to market the state this year. …
“The failed rollout made national headlines because a promotional video included a clip from Iceland. It also led to the resignation of the state’s chief marketing officer, Betsy Wall. …
“‘ Make It Yours.’ A temporary pop-up storefront, located at 250 Westminster Street in Providence, invites Rhode Islanders to write down what they love about the state. People are also encouraged to share video clips and pictures on social media using the hashtag #MyRIstory.
” ‘The material that we really love — it’s, “Oh my God, this one’s fantastic,” we’re going to reach out to people and ask — “Can we use this in the state’s advertising campaign because it’s a perfect way to tell the story of Rhode Island?” ‘ Seth Goldenberg, interim chief marketing officer for the Commerce Corporation, said. …
“The ideas jotted down at the studio will be shared with the state’s local tourism bureaus.”
I think I missed some opening words at the lunchtime event I attended, and that may be why I found it a little confusing. I could see that lots of people had previously written ideas on cards and posted them on a wall, and I heard introductions of guest speakers Doors Open RI founder Caroline Stevens and DesignxRI co-founder Lisa Carnevale (but I didn’t hear who the MC was).
Even though I thought that with people continuously dropping in late, repeated explanations — of who the speakers were, what was being done and why, and what the arts and crafts on the tables were for — would have been good, there is no doubt that crowdsourcing of ideas is a concept whose time has come, and I hope lots of Rhode Islanders will attend the pop-up events.
I took home cute logo templates that were on a crafts table and will investigate how they were to be used.