PROVIDENCE, R.I. — Rhode Island’s governor says people searching for Iceland online are finding her state instead because of a goof in its tourism video and she’s hoping they’ll visit.
The state’s tourism video has been mocked on social media for showing a prominent concert hall in Reykjavik. Embarrassed state tourism officials quickly yanked the video off YouTube last week.
But Democratic Gov. Gina Raimondo looked on the bright side. “Here’s the good news: Now when people go search for Iceland, they’re seeing Rhode Island. So maybe some people will come visit us, too,” she said with a laugh.
An editing company has taken responsibility for the mix-up. The state’s economic development agency, the Rhode Island Commerce Corporation, said it shared the blame since it hired the vendor.
The Harpa concert hall and conference center in Reykjavik had a little fun with the kerfuffle, tweeting “We look good in that video, right?”
The video’s intro features a skateboarder outside a glass building and has a narrator saying, “Imagine a place that feels like home but holds enough uniqueness that you’re never bored.”
People on social media said: Hey, that’s not Rhode Island: that’s the Harpa concert hall and conference center in Reykjavik.
Designer Greg Nemes visited Iceland in October and said he recognized the photogenic building, which has a steel framework and an exterior skin of differently colored glass panels.
“It was pretty unmistakable to me, so I did some digging around and posted on Facebook about it,” he said.
Social media users agreed with him, posting side-by-side photos of the building in the Rhode Island ad and Harpa.
A spokeswoman for the agency confirmed that the building in the state’s tourism ad is Harpa and said an editing company used the wrong footage.
“As the Commerce Corporation put this presentation video together, explicit instructions were given to the local firm that helped with editing to use only Rhode Island footage,” spokeswoman Kayla Rosen said in an email. “A mistake was made. Once the mistake was identified, the video was removed.”
She said the video, which cost $22,000 to make, is being updated at no cost to the Commerce Corporation or the state.
The state released the video and a new logo, with the slogan “Cooler & Warmer,” as part of a $5 million integrated campaign to attract tourism and business.
The scrutiny of the video has led to the discovery of an error on a newly redesigned tourism website. The smallest state has less than 2 percent of the nation’s historic landmarks, not the 20 percent listed.
The Commerce Corporation said that the website referred to what is now an outdated statistic from its listings on the National Register of Historic Places.
It says it’s updating the website.
It’s not the first time people have been embarrassed because they used incorrect footage in their promotional videos.
In February, a TV ad for Republican presidential candidate Marco Rubio, a U.S. senator from Florida, opened with a scene from Vancouver, Canada. In 2007, Tennessee’s tourism department caught flak for using a photo taken in Alaska. And in 2014, the Republican candidate for governor in Rhode Island was called out after he filmed a TV ad in Ohio.