PROVIDENCE, R.I. (AP) — An oral surgeon made a Rhode Island tourism ad and paid for it to air on television following the botched rollout of the state's own tourism campaign that featured an image of Iceland.
A tourism video that Rhode Island released in March was quickly pulled after being mocked for showing footage of a Reykjavik concert hall.
Cranston surgeon Stephen Skoly said he saw the state's mistake and thought, "We could do a lot better."
Skoly, who owns a production company, created his own 30-second video featuring local footage with the tagline, "Sea Rhode Island." He said it cost about $575 to make and $3,000 to air locally on CNN and elsewhere.
"We did it for a small amount of money and I think it's better than what they spent an awful lot of money on," he said. "That was my little, subtle protest of how they're reckless with our capital, to the point that it does frustrate the taxpayers."
The state also dropped its poorly received marketing slogan, "Cooler & Warmer." The state chief marketing officer resigned.
Skoly said he wants more transparency and oversight.
When asked about Skoly's ad, Kayla Rosen, a spokesman for the state's economic development agency, said the next phase about the tourism campaign is "all about public engagement" and "we're excited to see everyone contribute."
Among the agency's new initiatives, it's opening a temporary studio in downtown Providence and creating a website where Rhode Islanders can share photos, videos and stories about their experiences in the state.
Skoly said that no one from the state has approached him about his ad, or vice versa.
He said he's not sure what he's going to do with it now, it depends on the feedback he gets.
On the web: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CLOUIxL5Vwk