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'Bad for the city': Regina Mayor, Experience Regina CEO break silence on tourism slogans

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The Mayor of Regina calls tourism slogans that were rolled out as part of a rebrand last week “sexist” and “wrong.”

Last Thursday, Tourism Regina became Experience Regina. Slogans like “the city that rhymes with fun” and “show us your Regina” were part of the launch online.

Mayor Sandra Masters said she and some of city council did preview the Experience Regina rebrand, but said the slogans were not part of the pitch they saw on March 7.

“[The slogans] hurt and impacted people and it’s just bad for the city,” Masters said Wednesday night following a city council meeting.

“I’ve been assured that figuring out how it happened is currently underway. I do know there’s a board of directors meeting [on Thursday] night and this topic is clearly going to take a bit of priority, as well as steps moving forward.”

The Regina Exhibition Association Limited (REAL) oversees Experience Regina. Its board of directors will decide next steps, including whether or not jobs should be lost over the controversial launch.

“I think when offense and insult has been given and it’s corrected and accountability is taken, I’ll go back to the board of directors in terms of making a decision with the deeper understanding of how things happened and what could be done,” Masters said

“I don’t think we dig holes and throw people in them because of a mistake.”

Experience Regina CEO Tim Reid apologized on social media on Sunday. Despite several requests for interviews from CTV News early in the week, he did not comment until Thursday.

“We hurt people, we embarrassed people and we impacted people. It’s not our role and it’s not what we should have done,” Reid said.

“I think we’re going to spend a long time apologizing and I think we should. I think we should as an organization and I think I should as a leader. We were wrong.”

Reid said he has some sense of what happened that led to the slogans being included in the rebrand. However, he said they were never part of the strategy and no one would have seen them, including the REAL board of directors, city council and the marketing agency they worked with.

“There needed to be more stringent guardrails put around messaging and the language that were used. There needed to be better approvals that were in place than there were. Ultimately, the strategy that we intended to launch versus the one that we did were two very different scenarios,” Reid said.

“We’re literally going through every decision that was being made. We are committing that we’ll investigate this thoroughly. We’ll update not only our board of directors, but also city council.”

The rebranding campaign cost Experience Regina about $30,000.

Reid said he does not have an opinion on whether he should resign or not.

“I’ve been clear with our board of directors and I think I’ve been clear with council that has reached out as well. Ultimately, this is my responsibility. I’ve certainly suggested I’m open to any conversation they wish to have. I haven’t had that conversation right now with anybody, but I certainly regret where we stand,” he said.

Reid said Experience Regina will take its time with next steps and determining what to do with the campaign moving forward.

“We’ve removed all of the offensive content from anything that is Experience Regina. I honestly think we have to press pause and I think we need to bring some really great people into the discussion,” Reid said.

“I think we have to evaluate everything so we get this right.”

Correction

A previous iteration of this story stated that Mayor Sandra Masters and the rest of city council "approved" the Experience Regina rebrand on March 7, which did not include the controversial slogans.

The City of Regina later clarified that Mayor Sandra Masters and some of city council "previewed" the rebrand on March 7, which did not include the controversial slogans.

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