Experience Regina apologizes after criticism over new slogans ‘sexualizing’ the city
Experience Regina, formerly known as Tourism Regina, has issued an apology for two of its slogans, which received widespread criticism online after the rebranding launch last week. Tim Reid, the CEO of Experience Regina, took responsibility for the shortcomings of the rebranding campaign, including the “Show us your Regina” and “The city that rhymes with fun” slogans.
Tim Reid — the CEO of Experience Regina, the organization formerly known as Tourism Regina — took responsibility for the rebranding campaign’s shortfalls. (Alexander Quon/CBC)
He apologized on behalf of himself and the team for the negative impact that these slogans had on the community.
In an interview, Reid accepted that Experience Regina “crossed the line on some of the poking fun at ourselves around our city name” and stated that the organization went “too far” in its marketing tactics, some of which “bumped into sexuality.” Reid assured that anything with a sexual nature or connotation had been removed from the marketing campaign.
The rebranding campaign’s slogans drew criticism from several people, including Kristen McLeod, a former Tourism Regina board member, who wrote a letter to the mayor and accused the campaign of being blatantly disrespectful to the people in the city. She also criticized the organization’s desire to make Regina “sexy” and pointed out that the campaign had sexualized the city, which was unnecessary.
Cheryl Stadnichuk posted on Facebook, expressing her disappointment and dismay at the sexist messaging of the new Experience Regina campaign.
She demanded an explanation from those responsible for the campaign, adding that society has a responsibility to teach boys and men about consent, and slogans like “show us your Regina” do the opposite.
The rebranding marked the first significant move from Reid, who is also the CEO of Regina Exhibition Limited (REAL), since REAL was put in charge of the city’s tourism organization last year. The name Experience Regina is an attempt to capitalize on the phrase popularized by a viral video titled “Experience Regina,” viewed nearly 700,000 times on YouTube in 2008. Due to the similarity between the words Regina and vagina, the name of the song prompted laughter from Jimmy Fallon’s co-host, members of his band, and the show’s audience when it was played on The Tonight Show in 2018.
Despite the backlash, the organization will retain the name Experience Regina. However, stakeholders and members of the public have demanded more accountability from the organization and an explanation of how the campaign was allowed to happen. Regina Mayor Sandra Masters is expected to speak on the rebranding and subsequent apology after city council on Wednesday.