Regina Mayor Sandra Masters on Wednesday answered questions about the controversy surrounding the city's controversial tourism rebrand.  (CBC - photo credit)

Regina Mayor Sandra Masters on Wednesday answered questions about the controversy surrounding the city’s controversial tourism rebrand. (CBC – photo credit)

Regina Mayor Sandra Masters has responded to criticism of slogans used as part of a tourism rebrand for the city, saying they were a mistake.

Last week, Tourism Regina was renamed to Experience Regina. The launch included two slogans — “Show Us Your Regina” and “The City That Rhymes With Fun” — which drew a lot of criticism online for the city’s sexualization.

“She [slogans] were sexist and wrong. They hurt and distressed people,” Masters told reporters Wednesday night. “It’s just bad for the city.”

Experience Regina CEO Tim Reid apologized for the slogans on Sunday and the organization removed them from its website.

Masters told reporters on Wednesday that the backlash surprised her, as the city council anticipated parts of the campaign launch but didn’t include the controversial slogans.

“Again, the inclusion of some languages ​​on the site wasn’t in the original package, so it was added at a point in time and not reviewed,” Masters said.

“I can admit that when we saw that [original] Slide deck, we were very happy with the slide deck. … I think everyone in the room was like, ‘That’s good, that makes sense.'”

Masters was at an Experience Regina launch event last Friday, where people in the crowd wore sweaters printed with “The City That Rhymes with Fun” and the Experience Regina emblem.

“I think it offends some people. Again, I think private companies that want to sell it and have been selling it for years can do it,” Masters told CBC radio The morning edition Hostess Stefani Langenegger on Thursday.

“I think it’s a misstep that the brand launch picked it up. I think what private companies want to do is ultimately fine.”

Masters said the Experience Regina logo should be available to anyone who wants to use it.

HEAR | The Mayor of Regina raises concerns about Experience Regina’s marketing campaign:

How did the slogans make it into the marketing campaign?

According to the mayor, the Regina City Council has no control over Experience Regina’s marketing decisions.

The renaming marked the first significant step by Reid, also CEO of Regina Exhibition Limited (REAL), since REAL was given responsibility for the city’s tourism organization last year.

“I have been assured that all inappropriate content has been removed and that a full review of the situation that led to the use of the inappropriate slogans is currently underway,” Masters said on CBC radio The morning edition.

“I think there is a board meeting tonight and I know this front and its focus is on their agenda so I look forward to the reports.”

Masters noted Wednesday that a manager was unexpectedly absent in the lead up to the brand launch.

“I think there was a little bit of a lack of internal control and direct leadership again,” said Masters.

Alexander Quon/CBC

Alexander Quon/CBC

Masters did not specify whether there would be any personnel changes at Experience Regina.

“I think the Experience Regina campaign without the sexist slogans is a fantastic campaign,” said Master.

Masters noted that Regina has been the city’s name for over a century and the jokes have been going on forever.

“I think like Mick Jagger said [“the city that rhymes with fun”] In the mid-2000s, he wanted to hint that women’s bodies should be celebrated. I think the problem is that if it is posted on a website related to the city of Regina it will be vilified.

Masters said the rebranded tourism campaign aims to show visitors the arts, culture and sporting attractions the city has to offer.

“We want people to come and experience our city, experience our people,” Masters said. “You have to experience us because that’s what makes us so great.”

The renaming cost the city $30,000.

HEAR | The reaction to Regina’s rebranding into Experience Regina continues:


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