Governor Gina Raimondo and the state's Commerce Corporation have announced a new slogan for the Ocean State, Rhode Island: Cooler and Warmer.
Developed by Milton Glaser of "I Love NY" fame, the slogan accompanies a new marketing campaign aimed at attracting businesses and tourism to the Ocean State. So far it's receiving mixed reviews.
The campaign focuses on the state's waterfront attractions, historic sites and culture. State officials touted the launch as a significant step in the effort to revitalize Rhode Island's economy.
“For too long, Rhode Island was inconsistent in telling our story and was not front and center in conversations that determine where businesses decide to grow and where tourists decide to visit,” said R.I. Commerce Corporation Chief Marketing Officer Betsy Wall in a written statement. “We have conducted extensive market research to develop an innovative and lively plan to reclaim what has always been our story—that of a dynamic place to live, work and visit.”
State officials discussed the new branding and its accompanying logo at a meeting of the Commerce Corporation on Monday night. The Commerce Corp. rolled them out as part of a $5 million marketing push, which will also include advertising and social media but no national television spots.
Under former Governor Lincoln Chafee, the state adopted the slogan "Discover Beautiful Rhode Island," which adorns highway signs near the entrances to the state. The signs were installed just two years ago.
Last summer, Rhode Island Public Radio conducted a poll of listeners asking their advice for the new tourism slogan. Suggestions ranged from "Little State, Big Fun" to "Most Coast To Boast" and, one of the most chuckle-worthy, "Home of Mobsters and Lobsters."
The winning slogan, by a large margin, was "the biggest moments are made in the smallest state."
Reaction to the "Cooler and Warmer" tagline has been mixed at best, with many people posting comments on social media sites like Twitter.
"Cooler and warmer being the Rhode Island slogan is like slimmer and fatter being the BK slogan," one user tweeted, referring to the fast food chain Burger King.
Though many of the comments were negative, the hashtag #coolerandwarmer started trending on Tuesday. Governor Gina Raimondo defended the slogan, pointing to its role as part of a larger campaign.
"Some people will like it, some people won't" said Raimondo. "The important thing is what we do with it. That's a logo."
Explaining the meaning of the slogan, Raimondo said "young people ought to think about coming to Rhode Island, visiting Rhode Island, starting a business in Rhode Island because we're cool and we're hip. We're entrepreneurial, and it's warm."
Here's a sampling of some of the reactions to the new logo and slogan on Twitter:
Roger Williams: "What Cheer Netop?"
Miantonomo: "It's cooler here."
Canonicus: "Warmer too!"