Mayor and CEO for Experience Regina speak for first time since botched rebrand

What should have been an exciting rebrand and launching of a new tourism plan has become a nightmare for the City of Regina.

Last week, Tourism Regina was rebranded to Experience Regina, with slogans like “the city that rhymes with fun” and “show us your Regina,” drawing criticism and backlash.

With her city in the spotlight, Mayor Sandra Masters denounced the slogans.

“They were sexist and wrong, and they hurt and impacted people, and it’s just bad for the city,” she said. “It wasn’t part of the original branding that had been presented. They weren’t in the original launch.”

Masters said it would be up to the Regina Exhibition Association Limited board of directors to decide the next steps and what repercussions will take place.

“I think when offence and insult have 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.”

She added that the city council would like a brief of what happened, which she expects to come back as a report sometime in the future.

Tim Reid, the President and CEO for REAL, spoke for the first time since apologizing via Twitter and said he feels awful about the situation.

“I think that would be the best word that I could use to describe it, and I’m not sure it’s not a strong word,” he said. “I think the offensiveness of those slogans was not in keeping with our values as a community or as a city, or mine personally, and it’s just not what we should have done.”

“We hurt people; we embarrassed people; we impacted people. That’s not our role, that’s not what we should have done, and we apologize for that,” he added.

Reid said he has some idea how the slogans were included in the rebrand, but further investigation would be needed to know for sure.

“We are literally going through every decision that has been made.”

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

Reid said as far as he knows, those slogans were never a part of the original rebranding.

“Our board didn’t see those, city council didn’t see those, our marketing agency didn’t see those, and there were decisions that would make that were wrong, and the control around them didn’t prevent them from occurring.”

Reid added that as the person who oversees, it is up to him to take responsibility.

–Correction: A previous version of the story had reported that City Council had approved the rebrand of Tourism Regina when instead they had just previewed the rebrand.–

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