Trending: Betsy Wall, newly appointed Rhode Island Chief Marketing Officer in charge of Rhode Island’s tourism campaign, was forced to resign this week after completely botching the new “Cooler and Warmer” campaign which featured a video commercial spot that erroneously contained shots of Iceland.
- Gov. Gina Raimondo hires Wall Dec. 2015 at the recommendation of RI’s Commerce Corporation, which screened over 130 candidates for the position.
- Monday, March 28, 2016: the Commerce Corporation unveils new slogan “Cooler and Warmer” and logo
- Because the meaning of the slogan and logo could not easily be understood, people created memes on social media sites, mocking the campaign.
- Twitter users joined the #coolerandwarmer discussion
- Tuesday, March 29: Errors caught in video: shots of skateboarder in Iceland, not Rhode Island. The next day, the video was pulled.
- Wednesday, March 30: RI’s Commerce Corporation calls for review of tourism website and finds more than 100 errors.
- Mid-week: Wall defends the campaign:
“Wall earlier this week said she took primary responsibility for the rollout mistakes.
‘These are small elements of a large marketing program,’ she said. ‘I know it’s creating a lot of laughs and emotion, but this is a 2-second error. This was not an attempt to deceive people or embellish. This was a mistake.’
The video editing company took responsibility for the Iceland mix-up. The state’s economic development agency, the Rhode Island Commerce Corp., said it shared the blame since it hired the vendor.
Two of Raimondo’s communications officials said they noticed an unfamiliar scene in the video before the rollout but were assured all scenes were filmed in Rhode Island.”
– Source: MATT O’BRIEN AND JENNIFER MCDERMOTT, ASSOCIATED PRESS as reported by ABC News; Apr. 01, 2016
- Thursday, March 31: Betsy Wall gives interview on The Rhode Show explaining the process of the campaign and defending it. Wall also states that the planning for the slogan “predated” her time as RI Chief Marketing Officer.
- Friday, Apr. 1: Wall is forced to resign her position.
- This weekend, Governor Raimondo is trying to recover from the tourism “debacle” by dumping the slogan/campaign and vowing to recoup the taxpayers’ money spent on it.
So, that’s where the case stands.
Up for discussion
- Do you agree with the RI governor’s decision to force Wall to resign?
- What makes this case different than Marco Rubio’s February 2016 video “Morning Again in Amercia” video that contained footage shot in Vancouver, Canada, and no one on Rubio’s campaign staff was fired?
- What makes this case different than Donald Trump’s videos that feature Russian soldiers instead of American soldiers and his first TV “campaign video showing immigrants crossing a border was actually from the border between Morocco and Spain”? No one was fired over these either.
- What do you think about the branding of Dunkin’ Donuts in the above meme?
- Would you scrap the multi-million dollar “Cooler and Warmer” slogan, given the bad press? If yes, how would you explain the expense to taxpayers in Rhode Island?
- If you were the PR manager for Gov. Raimondo, what would be your next step to contain this crisis?
- Some fear Gov. Raimondo cannot politically recover from this PR crisis. As a PR professional, what are your thoughts and how could you help her to move on and succeed?
As usual, all respectful and constructive discussions are welcome and needed.