Pax Global Media
The capital city of Saskatchewan is making headlines over a controversial campaign that used female anatomy humour to promote local tourism.
Experience Regina, the agency in charge of tourism in the Prairie Province city, announced a rebrand last week, unveiling several new slogans – two of which the organization is now apologizing for.
The now-removed lines “Show us your Regina" and "The city that rhymes with fun" were posted on the organization’s social media to mark the rebrand.
Its website, too, reportedly featured a page titled “show us your Regina” written above a block of Instagram posts and images.
The content sparked outrage online, leading Tim Reid, CEO of Experience Regina (formerly known as Tourism Regina), to post an apology earlier this week, just days after launching the campaign.
“I want to start by apologizing, on behalf of myself and our team, for the negative impact we created with elements of our recent brand launch,” reads a Facebook post signed by Reid. “There was such positive feedback around Experience Regina; however, it was clear that we fell short of what is expected from our amazing community with some of the slogans that we used. Regardless of our intent, the impact is valid, and for that, we apologize.”
Going too far
In an interview with CBC News, Reid took responsibility for the lewd lines, despite there being others involved — including stakeholders, agencies and focus groups.
He admitted Experience Regina “went too far."
"The city didn't appreciate it and our community didn't appreciate it and we just were wrong," Reid was quoted as saying.
Kristen McLeod, a former Tourism Regina board member and one who criticized the slogans, called the campaign disrespectful.
Speaking to CBC, she said she was shocked to see a section on the organization's website that said it wanted to make "Regina sexy."
"It's sexualizing the city when it isn't necessary," McLeod said.
CTV News reports that Regina’s Mayor Sandra Masters, along with city council, did approve the Experience Regina rebrand, but Masters said the slogans were not part of a pitch that was presented on March 7.
She has since called the slogans “sexist” and “wrong.”
“[The slogans] hurt and impacted people and it’s just bad for the city,” she was quoted as saying at a council meeting Wednesday night. “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.”
Reid, meanwhile, believes the tourism agency will “spend a long time apologizing” to those that it offended.
“And I think we should,” he said. “I think we should as an organization and I think I should as a leader. We were wrong.”
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