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Posted: March 30, 2016

Rhode Island tourism video accidentally features Iceland

REYKJAVIK, ICELAND - MARCH 14: A view of the exterior of Harpa Concert Hall during Reykjavik Fashion Festival 2015 on March 14, 2015 in Reykjavik, Iceland. (Photo by Matthew Eisman/Getty Images)
Matthew Eisman
REYKJAVIK, ICELAND - MARCH 14: A view of the exterior of Harpa Concert Hall during Reykjavik Fashion Festival 2015 on March 14, 2015 in Reykjavik, Iceland. (Photo by Matthew Eisman/Getty Images)

By Cox Media Group National Content Desk

Rhode Island officials released a promotional video Monday in an effort to encourage people everywhere to choose the state for their next vacation destination. 

The only problem? There was a shot in the video that wasn't even filmed in Rhode Island. An intro scene shows a portion of Harpa, a concert hall and conference center in Reykjavik, Iceland.

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‘‘Imagine a place that feels like home but holds enough uniqueness that you’re never bored,’’ the video's narrator says as a skateboarder rides past a glass building.

But Internet users commented saying, "Hey, that’s not Rhode Island -- that’s the Harpa concert hall and conference center in Reykjavik."


Greg Nemes, a professor at the Rhode Island School of Design, visited Iceland in October and said he recognized the building, which has a distinct steel framework and an exterior of different colored glass panels.

‘‘It was pretty unmistakable to me, so I did some digging around and posted on Facebook about it,’’ Nemes told the Associated Press.

Other people agreed with him, posting side-by-side photos of the building in the Rhode Island ad and Harpa.

The Rhode Island Commerce Corporation, the state’s economic development agency, acknowledged the mistake, saying an editing company used the wrong footage.

The video was removed from YouTube Tuesday. 

“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," said Betsy Wall, the Commerce Corporation's chief marketing officer. "A mistake was made."

The editing company, IndieWhip, has promised to update the video at no extra cost to the state or the Commerce Corporation, which paid $20,000 for the original video.

"The footage in question is of a Rhode Island skateboarder, filmed by a Rhode Islander skateboarder," the agency said in statement reported by the Providence Journal. IndieWhip said they've create "a new version to go live soon, ensuring all shots are located in the state."

Another mistake was later revealed when people starting pointing out that Rhode Island's tourism website claimed that state, which is the smallest in the United States, boasts 20 percent of the country's historic landmarks.

"Little Rhody is packed with 400 miles of coastline and 20 percent of the country's historic landmarks," the site says.

Rhode Island has 45, or less than 2 percent, of the country's historic landmarks, and no state -- not even the biggest -- has 20 percent, according to Mashable

The tourism site reportedly shows archived versions of the page with the incorrect statistic listed as early as 2008.


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