Here is Ann Althouse on Rhode Island:
I had to make a new tag for Rhode Island. I think it’s the very last state I’ve blogged about — I’d thought I already had a tag for every state — and it’s a story of it not getting respect. Oh, Rhode Island. You can use that previous sentence as your slogan if you want.
Or remember the old saying “Nothing but for Providence”?
It’s not even an island. How is this for a relevant update?:
The idea was simple enough — to create a logo and slogan that cast the long-struggling state of Rhode Island in a fresh, more optimistic light to help attract tourists and businesses. 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.
By the way, they hired a New Yorker to do the campaign.
And yet, as a native northeaster who spent three years of his early life in Fall River (southern Massachusetts), I cannot bring myself to name Rhode Island the nation’s most obscure state. It just doesn’t seem far away enough. Brown University is world famous, and most people who go from New York to Boston come in contact with the state in some way. It can count Gilbert Stuart and Cormac McCarthy and H.P. Lovecraft, and the film Dumb and Dumber starts off there, so probably it is no worse (better?) than the nation’s second most obscure state.