PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) — Following embarrassing mistakes that received national attention and public backlash about the state’s new tourism slogan, Governor Gina Raimondo said she has accepted the resignation of Rhode Island’s Chief Marketing Officer.
During a news conference Friday, Raimondo announced Besty Wall will be leaving her post – saying she needed to hold people accountable following the campaign’s botched rollout.
Raimondo said the now-infamous “Cooler & Warmer” will be scrapped and a new slogan will be established.
Eyewitness News spoke with several people Saturday – both from in and out of the state – who said they didn’t think the slogan really added anything to Rhode Island.
“I don’t think it depicted anything that we have to offer at all,” said Marissa Dibiase of Cranston.
- Analysis: Ted Nesi on how the tourism fiasco damaged Raimondo
- Official: No plans to drop ‘Cooler & Warmer’
- More: RI chief marketing officer resigns after ‘Cooler & Warmer’ debacle
John Caron of South Dartmouth said he really wasn’t impressed by the two-word catchphrase.
On Friday, Governor Raimondo said she had heard similar things over the past week.
“It’s clear people don’t want that as our state tagline,” she said.
So, she decided to get rid of it.
“It is clear to me one of the things I’ve learned from listening and engaging with people is there should have been more public participation in this effort from the get-go,” she said. She pledged to “learn from these mistakes” and take steps to improve the marketing campaign, and said she understood that criticism was coming because “Rhode Islanders have a deep and abiding passion for our state.”
Rhode Islanders said they have mixed feelings about what that means for the state going forward.
“I hate that it means it was a lot of wasted time and money but I think we can do better,” said Jane Sharp of Providence.
Sharp said she isn’t sure if Wall leaving is the right answer.
“I hate that our knee-jerk reaction to mistakes is to fire people,” she said. “I think that person may have learned a very valuable lesson. It might be more effective going forward.”
But Dibiase said she agrees with Raimondo’s decision to accept Wall’s resignation.
“That showed [she was] listening to the people,” she said.Eyewitness News asked to speak with the head of the Commerce Corporation Saturday, as well as Milton Glaser, the designer responsible for the logo. We were told neither were available for comment.