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Experience Regina' campaign 'greenlighted' without approval by senior managers, report says

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An independent review has found that no changes of employment at Regina Exhibition Association Limited (REAL) will be required following the controversial “Experience Regina” rebrand.

Tim Reid will maintain his position as the President and CEO (PCEO) of REAL.

“There is no apparent need to fire anyone connected to this episode,” the report read.

“While it would be a fairly easy solution to simply blame the PCEO and demand a resignation that would be foolish and unnecessarily expensive.”

The 114 page report, made public Thursday, lays out recommendations and a path forward after the REAL led tourism rebrand faced immediate backlash when several slogans were released that sexualized the City of Regina and played off the city’s name, mainly the fact that it rhymes with vagina.

“Recognizing the mistakes made in the Experience Regina brand launch, the REAL Board of Directors is committed to a constructive path forward that best represents our City and our citizens,” Wayne Morsky, chair, REAL Board of Directors said in a news release.

“The completion of the independent review is a critical step in this process, and we want to be transparent with our stakeholders and community members as we move forward.”

Recommendations include reviewing the organizational structure of REAL and Tourism Regina and ensuring “appropriate mentorship, supervision and accountability,” reviewing committee charters, procurement policies and risk priorities and defining what information should be shared with the board to allow it to carry out its responsibilities.

Additionally, the report called for a focus on direct management to review internal project management, external communications and decision-making authority as well as the creation of a tourism advisory committee to “ensure Tourism Regina is reflective and inclusive of the citizens of our community.”

'THE INCIDENT'

The report, conducted by George B. Cuff & Associates Ltd., based in Spruce Grove, Alta., sheds light on the situation behind the scenes in the months and weeks prior to the brand launch.

According to the timeline, on March 9, Reid was aware that the logos, colours and manifesto “were complete and considered excellent.”

Later the same day – a REAL staff member – "without reference to their supervisor, greenlighted the release of the slogans to the [Experience Regina] website," the report outlined.

Among them were “City that Rhymes with Fun” and “Show Us Your Regina.”

Following the brand launch on March 16, social media lit up with criticism over the changed website and slogans.

“The ‘incident’ happened in large measure because of a lack of managerial oversight, loose procedures, inadequate policy guidance and unavailable senior staff who were knowledgeable about what was expected,” the report read.

“While there were undoubtedly extenuating factors which impacted how the release of unapproved slogans occurred, the lack of adequate supervision was certainly one of them.”

These issues, according to the report, were caused by a sudden change in senior leadership.

“What was not foreseen was the relatively sudden turnover of those at the senior management level who should have been in a position to ensure that the timeline was followed, and commitments met,” the report read.

This fact directly led to certain procedures not being followed.

“We were advised by the PCEO that Experience Regina staff were provided with the REAL playbook in how to develop a new brand, which REAL had recently successfully utilized, but now understand that this was not followed," the report said.

The review summarized the causes of the incident as:

  • A major corporate responsibility change (Tourism moved over to REAL).
  • Absence of a clearly defined Board policy on risk,
  • A lack of policies; (when Tourism was transferred to REAL),
  • Inadequate oversight and guidance,
  • Inability to adhere to the recommended template process and;
  • A difficult deadline.

“This event was bound to happen, it was just a matter of when,” Cuff said in the report.

“REAL is an organization that needs to take a fresh look at itself and its expectations for the current components of the organization.”

A total of 51 people were interviewed as part of the review.

The identities of the interviewees were redacted in the report.

The full report as well as a summary can be found on REAL’s website.

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