PR Firms Galore Competed for Rhode Island Tourism

Rhode Island Public Relations Agency

Recently, the Rhode Island Commerce Corporation’s board of directors authorized the corporation’s proposal contracting up to three firms for a sum of $4.5 million for developing a new tourism campaign re-branding the entire state of Rhode Island. Rhode Island may be small, but this project is big enough to attract the brains behind the 1970’s “I Love New York” iconic re-branding campaign, among the winners of this historic contract.


Stefan Pryor Rhode Island

Commerce Secretary Stefan Pryor explained their expectations for marketing and creative firms building the Ocean State to what its leaders haven’t seen in decades. Giving birth to a tourist ideology attracting new visitors, and guaranteeing those visitors do business with and ultimately live in Rhode Island. Governor Raimondo included fifty-one parties as expenses to complete various aspects of the contract. The Governor believes these are essential to Rhode Island’s overall economic development.

Rhode Island Commerce Corporation

To channel more funds into this new campaign, funds were pulled from the state’s existing tourism bureaus. Of the fifty-one parties included in the Governor’s state expenses, the Commerce Corporation’s board chose to negotiate with three partners:

Milton Glaser Inc

Milton Glaser Inc and The Mechanism, from New York. Glaser is the entrepreneurial genius behind the 1977 “I Love New York” campaign.

In his application for consideration, he expands on this success: “It’s become the most successful campaign in history and has totally obliterated almost everything else I’ve done over the last 60 years.” In a recent interview, Pryor confirms Glaser will design Rhode Island’s new brand.

Havas PRHavas PR, also from New York, will be “the agency of record,” announced Pryor. Havas employs 12,000 around the world and takes responsibility for deploying the brand.

This means their domain encompasses both social media and the traditional advertising campaign. Marian Salzman, Havas PR North American CEO, leads the campaign. She lived in Providence for five years, graduating from Brown University’s Class of 1981.

In her application, she wrote she didn’t truly “hatch” until she came to Providence at age 17: “You, Rhode Island, are in my blood…I’ve lived all over the world, but you are one of only a few places I have ever called home.”

Just two years before winning this contest, Salzman worked with local entrepreneurs on a project called SocialProvidence, a startup consulting companies who desire new target audiences.Rhode Island’s Epic Decade

Rhode Island’s Epic Decade founded and headed by its CEO Seth Goldenberg, who wrote a love letter to Rhode Island. In his application, he laments, “I can’t help it. I’ve fallen in love.”

Epic Decade’s role in the creative process entails the development of the Rhode Island Brand, and the upkeep of correspondence with the public of the state, so local voices keep a role in the development. Goldenberg first came to Providence at the tender age of 19 to attend the Rhode Island School of Design.

While there he was hired by the school’s provost to launch its Office of Public Engagement. Goldenberg later became deputy director of the Museum of Contemporary Art Denver and then director of Dialog: City, the Democratic National Convention’s initiative in Denver combining art, democracy and digital media.

Goldenberg returned to the Ocean State four years ago to open a design firm called IP.21 now headquartered in Jamestown under the title Epic Decade.


Lou Hammond & Associates

Lou Hammond – who has been profiled on these pages didn’t qualify…. And below are listed the remaining applicants, to give a feel for what sort of entities typically apply for such massive projects:

Red Peak Branding, The Via Agency, Atom Media Group, Brave River Solutions, Figmints, Gatehouse Media, LLC, The Pita Group, Giant Spoon, Repucom, FuseIdeas, WeUsThem Inc., Omnia Agency, The Gianni Group, RDW Group, Creative Energy Group, Gogo Media, Networks, Inc., Barnhart, Applied Design Works, Weber Shandwick, Outthink, Conway PR & Marketing, FCB Garfinkel, Multi-Media Lead Generation, PriMedia, Hay Advisors, Distinct Advertising, Dixon Schwabl, JH Communications, Ready 366, Atlas Advertising, Devito/Verdi, Fish Advertising, The GLAD WORKS Agency, KHJ Brand Activation, Basics Group, Adore Creative Agency, Inc., MMGY Global, We Are Social, Falcone Communications and Design, HCC Marketing and Reilly Group, Nail Communications, Mandala Research, Duffy & Shanley and ReachLocal, “The Coffee Milk Collective”: Worldways Social Marketing, Performance Research and Working Planet Marketing, Public Strategy Group, Inc., Portable Insights, Quantum Insights, LLC, “Team Rhody”: Havas PR, CDG NYC, Cake, Social Providence and Market Probe International, Finn Partners and Catalyst Destinations International, Star Media, Inc. and Rumbletree, DCI and Fahlgren Mortine, Stackpole & Associates, Inc., Ilan Geva & Friends, Medical Tourism Training, Inc. and Wayne’s World Media Group LLC, (add)ventures, Lou Hammond & Associates and Strategic Media, Miles Marketing Destinations, Destination Analysis and Sparkloft.

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