Does New RI Company’s Drone Video Have Tourism Potential?

Thursday, March 02, 2017


Rhode Island's Eleven Design, LLC has produced a drone video that has been garnering thousands of views in social media, and is hoping to parlay the viral success into even more. 

Dave Ricci with the new marketing company -- that he started along with his brother, sister, and sister's boyfriend -- spoke with GoLocal about the impetus for creating the video -- and what they are looking to achieve.

"This is the first installment of what we hope to be many more and our ultimate goal is to produce these types of videos for many of our municipalities and perhaps the state itself," said Ricci. 

"We began incorporating drones to compliment our ground camera to help make our commercials more dynamic.  We initially were doing it to try to separate our candidates from the pack and to capture the attention of new audiences," said Ricci. "After seeing positive results and realizing the enormous potential to showcase Rhode Island's beauty in a different way, we began collecting footage throughout the state, simply to have it in our collection for potential projects.  The reel itself was initially produced to be one component of our portfolio."

Responding to Response

"We were pleased with how the reel came out but were unsure of what kind of response to expect.  I think that our company knows Rhode Island well, having all been born and raised in the state, and so we tried to capture more recognizable aspects of the state along with other beautiful, but lesser known areas.  We wanted it to strike a balance between evoking the pride of native Rhode Islanders and capturing the imagination of potential visitors.  It seems, based on the feedback we've received, that we have been able to do that," said Ricci. 

"We're delighted with the response so far and hope that this has in fact made our fellow Rhode Islanders proud.  Ultimately I think our company has a lot to offer not only the state, but also our wonderful cities and towns, and I hope that we can be part of the renewed focus on getting folks to visit RI.  We have already had some amazing opportunities to help spotlight local treasures of all kinds who are helping this state thrive--whether businesses, nonprofits like PreserveRI, or politicians--and hope that only continues," said Ricci. "To us, the state's beauty and unique appeal make the marketing aspect fairly simple.  I think the key is to let that message be shown, not told."


Related Slideshow: National Press Critique RI’s Embarrassing Tourism Campaign - 2016

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New York Times

A world-renowned designer was hired. Market research was conducted. A $5 million marketing campaign was set. What could go wrong?

Everything, it turns out.

The slogan that emerged — “Rhode Island: Cooler and Warmer” — left people confused and spawned lampoons along the lines of “Dumb and Dumber.” A video accompanying the marketing campaign, meant to show all the fun things to do in the state, included a scene shot not in Rhode Island but in Iceland. The website featured restaurants in Massachusetts.

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Boston Globe

After the slogan’s unveiling, the blunders just kept coming. A promotional video to accompany the campaign included a shot of a skateboarder in front of a distinctive building that turned out to be the famous Harpa concert hall, located almost 2,500 miles away, in Iceland.

The new website erroneously boasted that Little Rhody is home to 20 percent of the country’s historic landmarks. And officials needed to remove three names from its restaurant database, after realizing the information was so outdated that two of the restaurants aren’t open right now.

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City Lab

“Cooler & Warmer.” It took me roughly 30 minutes of reading about Rhode Island’s new tourism catchphrase to realize that “cool” is a double entendre—as in, the occasional temperature of the Ocean State, but also “hip and awesome.” And I still didn’t quite get it? This was not a good sign. I may be dense, but lordy, was I not alone.

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The Rhode Island Tourism Division had to pull its latest video shortly after it was posted online Tuesday because it contained footage shot in Iceland. The three-second scene in question shows a man doing a skateboard trick outside of the Harpa concert hall in Reykjavik, the country’s capital.

IndieWhip, the company that edited the video, and the Rhode Island Commerce Corporation, which hired the firm, have apologized for the error. “The footage in question is of a Rhode Island skateboarder, filmed by a Rhode Islander,” IndieWhip added in a statement.

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A Big Price Tag Puts a Target on Your Back. Rhode Island spent a reported $550,000 to develop the “Cooler & Warmer” campaign. Development costs for the Florida and Washington campaigns cost $380,000 and $422,000, respectively. That’s before the first piece of media was ever purchased.

My advertising agency brethren will argue you have to invest money at the start of the campaign to “get it right.” But from my perspective, the above numbers seem exorbitant for a program built on public dollars. And in each case, an angry electorate agreed.

Creating a great “place marketing” campaign is a difficult job. Don’t make it more difficult by ignoring the lessons from states like Rhode Island, Florida and Washington.


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