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Perplexed Rhode Islanders Ridicule State's New 'Cooler and Warmer' Slogan


This was supposed to be a big week for Rhode Island. It unveiled its new tourism logo. Wait for it...


Cooler and warmer.

MCEVERS: Yeah, that's it - cooler and warmer.

CORNISH: OK, yeah.

KAREN ROSSI: I didn't get it and, actually, I found out afterwards that a lot of people didn't get it.

CORNISH: Karen Rossi is a real estate agent from Barrington, R.I. That kind of reaction quickly led to jokes.

MCEVERS: Look for the hashtag Better R.I. Slogans on Twitter and you will find...

UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN: Rhode Island, 3 percent bigger at low tide.

UNIDENTIFIED MAN #1: Rhode Island, potholes and Dunkin' Donuts.

UNIDENTIFIED MAN #2: Rhode Island, where strip clubs go to underachieve.

UNIDENTIFIED MAN #3: Rhode Island, making fun of ourselves since 1636.

CORNISH: The big marketing rollout also included a promotional video and a new tourism website.

MCEVERS: The video included a lovely shot of a skateboarder in front of Harpa concert hall, which is in Iceland.

CORNISH: And the new website said Rhode Island, the smallest state in the union, had 20 percent of the country's landmarks, which is false.

MCEVERS: And two restaurants that had been listed on the site's database were no longer open for business.

CORNISH: As we heard in our dramatic reading of tweets, Rhode Islanders can laugh about all of this. But they don't find the $5 million price tag for this campaign very funny. Music blogger Daniel Sullivan (ph) lives in Providence.

DANIEL SULLIVAN: Right now Rhode Island is struggling. Financially, there's no jobs, you know? Our roads are falling apart. And just the expense of a tourism campaign and the dollar amount that was spent hits people in the face when you can't drive down the road without hitting two potholes.

MCEVERS: We reached the state tourism office and they told us there have been mistakes but that it's great that the public is so engaged. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.