Embarrassment Regina

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A sketch showing two people holding up placards that say Show us Your Respect and Protect women in protest of the Experience Regina campaign.
The problem with civil protests is that they assume the entity you are protesting against is capable of growth. Lee Lim

Poorly planned campaign shows lack of sensitivity

by katlyn richardson, contributor

On March 16, Tourism Regina (now rebranded as Experience Regina) released their new marketing campaign intended to drive up tourism to the city. Instead of celebrating any of the fun, interesting things that exist here, they decided to create a campaign that has made Regina hit international headlines. Honestly, I’d be embarrassed to say I sat on the board that approved that slogan to be part of anything intended to demonstrate the city as a place to visit. A majority of Regina’s attractions are meant to be family friendly and this slogan shows something completely different.  

As a female, I am quite disgusted with the campaign. We already live in a society where femininity is seen as a joke for men, and this campaign, coming from a male-run organization, just furthers this narrative. The mayor, who was so quick to cry sexism just a few months ago when two male councilors sued the city manager, only recently stated that she felt this campaign did have sexist undertones.  

As someone who has been involved in situations that required a communication following some bad press, this fumble was severely mismanaged. The first thing that should have been done is acknowledging the problem, and issuing an apology for the blatant lack of forethought put into that slogan. The second thing that should have been done is addressing what will be done to prevent such an issue in the future. Instead, neither of these were done. The first statement doubled down on the choice and the second was just simply “whoops, my bad.”  

This entire fiasco is a really great case study on why you need to look at every way a slogan can be used, and how publicity from that can affect the success of a campaign. We have seen other companies accidentally use offensive slogans before, but the company quickly apologized and seemed to become more aware of the risks involved in the future. A sensitivity reader is an often-used asset to prevent future problems, as they are able prevent you from using problematic phrases in advertising. I’d highly recommend a more thorough review in the future for any tourism campaign.  

The Experience Regina and the ‘show us your Regina’ campaign were a horribly thought-out mess. The failure to evaluate any slogan that is even a potential innuendo and the lack of forethought as to how there might be issues with the slogan show how disconnected the leadership of the city and all those involved with the campaign are. We no longer live in a society were sexism and blatant displays of disrespect are just accepted. There has been a rather substantial attempt since I was a child to uplift women, and it has shifted society to be a bit more equal.  

Over time, this has also revealed how men are shamed for existing in any way that might be even remotely feminine. Experience Regina has shown how little Regina supports the movement toward being careful with statements that could bring people harm. Allowing an organization to make a city you have to live in become an international headline for all the wrong reasons is not the direction we want to head toward. Regina deserves to be more than a joke on the world stage, and the women of this city deserve to be more than the butt of that joke. 

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