RI promotional video used footage from Iceland

Screen shot from a RI promotional video that appears to use video from Iceland

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) – Do Rhode Island officials want you to discover beautiful … Iceland?

The R.I. Commerce Corporation confirmed Tuesday that three seconds of footage in a video made to promote Rhode Island actually show a scene in Iceland, confirming what was spotted by eagle-eyed viewers on social media.

The video was released Monday as part of a $4.5 million campaign to promote tourism and jobs in the Ocean State.

Betsy Wall, the state’s chief marketing officer, said her agency gave “explicit instructions” to IndieWhip, the Providence-based firm that edited the video, that only footage from the Ocean State should be used.

“A mistake was made. Once the mistake was identified, the video was removed,” Wall said in a statement Tuesday afternoon. “The video is currently being updated at no cost to the Commerce Corporation or the State of Rhode Island. As the campaign rolls out, we expect to make additional improvements and changes to our promotional materials.”

In an unsigned statement posted on its website Tuesday night, IndieWhip wrote: “On behalf of the Great State of Rhode Island, we sincerely apologize for the editing mistake brought to our attention in connection to the Commerce RI #WeAreRI campaign.”

The company added: “The footage in question is of a Rhode Island skateboarder, filmed by a Rhode Islander.”

The Iceland footage was first discovered by Greg Nemes, a Providence-based designer. Coryndon Luxmoore, a Rhode Island designer, also questioned the video.

The snippet of video shows a skateboarder gliding across a wood deck in front of a massive glass-front building. At that moment, the announcer states: “Imagine a place that feels like home, but holds enough uniqueness you’re never bored.”

People online quickly compared the glass building to an iconic concert hall in Iceland’s capital city.

“I’m 99% sure it’s Harpa concert hall” in Reykjavik, Iceland, Nemes wrote on Twitter.

The video – which was later removed from YouTube but can be seen below – is part of a larger marketing campaign that was unveiled Monday and included a new state logo and slogan, “Rhode Island: Cooler & Warmer.”

A promotional video touting Rhode Island was pulled from YouTube.
A promotional video touting Rhode Island was pulled from YouTube.

The marketing contract was awarded by the R.I. Commerce Corporation last fall to Milton Glaser, Havas PR North America and Epic Decade. Milton Glaser previously created the iconic “I Love NY” campaign.

An email to the company’s spokesperson was not immediately returned.

Tim White ( twhite@wpri.com ) is the Target 12 investigative reporter for WPRI 12 and Fox Providence. Follow him on Twitter: @TimWhiteRI

Ted Nesi and Kim Kalunian contributed to this report.

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