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What started as a rebranded tourism department has turned into a controversial issue across Regina met with both hate and support online, and now in the halls of city council.
Earlier this month, Tourism Regina officially changed its name to Experience Regina, with slogans like “Let’s make Regina sexy,” “The city that rhymes with fun” and “Show us your Regina.”
For Regina Mayor Sandra Masters, the rebranding was a misstep, specifically when it comes to the slogans used, rather than the overall theme of Experience Regina.
“They were sexist and wrong, and they hurt and impacted people,” Masters said. “It’s just bad for the city.”
According to Masters, on March 7, the council was shown a preview of the Experience Regina rebranding. However, none of the slogans used at the actual launch were included.
“It wasn’t part of the original brand that had been presented to (us),” Masters explained. “The slogan that was in there was not in the original launch.”
Tim Reid, the CEO of Experience Regina, said the first time he saw the slogans used was the same as everyone else – on the website on March 17.
“Truth is, we let individuals make decisions. We put individuals in positions where they had authority to do things and we made mistakes.”
When asked how he wasn’t made aware of the decision to include the slogans, Reid said they are currently investigating.
“The approval process to have that released was not effective. The policies weren’t in place, they weren’t followed when they needed to be. The reality of this is there is much more to understand, and we don’t have all the details right now, but we will,” Reid said.
“I think this is 100 per cent my accountability,” Reid went on to explain. “It is my job to make sure the guardrails, the processes and practices are in place to make sure these things don’t happen.”
Moving forward, Reid said no decisions have been made on the future of the brand, and instead wants to take as much time as possible to get the decision right.
“We don’t have to change this tomorrow, but we have to absolutely make sure we are right,” Reid said. “That we invite more people to the discussion and different people to the discussion…. We are not in the place we want to be today, but if we get this right, I think the community has to lead it.”
For both Masters and Reid, the Experience Regina campaign has always been intriguing.
“The intention of the original campaign was a celebration of who we are,” Masters said. “I actually really love the idea of Experience Regina…. When folks come to visit us they can’t believe how down to earth we are or how unbelievably friendly and helpful we are.”
The problem was how it was presented, with slogans that hurt and offended many.
“I am really proud of our city and I am proud of our name (Regina), of being the Queen City,” Masters said. “That’s what we hope over the next couple weeks we will figure out. I hope we work past (the slogans) and have a brand we are proud of.”
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