An independent review of how Regina’s tourism agency handled a botched rebrand says a junior employee approved sexualized slogans before top management could vet them.
The third-party review published on Thursday said that while some of the slogans were known among members of a committee made up of Tourism Regina staff, senior management did not approve their use before they were made public in March.
Instead, the George B. Cuff & Associate report says, a junior staff member posted the slogans online before senior management or the board could see them.
“He [slogans] they’re still on the table, the staff member put them in front of them, you get a call from the website designer saying, “Are we ready to go with the taglines?” And the junior staff member says, ‘Yeah, I guess so,'” George Cuff, the report’s author, told reporters on Thursday.
“So, that’s the first time [the agency] He probably had a chance to make an important decision, and he did it without getting the green light from someone in the food chain.”
The slogans received public backlash for referencing the name of the city that rhymes with vagina, using phrases such as “show us your Regina” and “the city that rhymes with fun”.
The review said the Regina Exhibition Association Ltd., which is responsible for Tourism Regina, had been in a state of disarray as it was doing the rebranding alongside other high-profile projects.
Old experienced senior leadership had also left the organization, he added, resulting in limited oversight in the review process.
No one will be let go, an advisory committee will be established
After the fallout, Tourism Regina removed all rebranding from their website and reverted to their original logos.
The organization’s executive director, Tim Reid, also apologized.
Reid should not be fired, as the review says such action would be costly.
No one else should be let go, Cuff said. He added that no one has quit since the launch.
“Are we going to somehow extract a pound of meat, that we’re going to somehow end up as a better organization, firing the person who hits the submit button?” he said.
“Are we going to fire the CEO, spend big money on the severance package, big money to find a new one, and big money to get that person started over?”
Cuff said the responsibility falls squarely on the organization.
He recommended that it take “a fresh look at itself” and strengthen its policies to ensure such failures don’t happen again.
Regina Exhibition Association Ltd. said it will review its policies and procedures. It will also establish an advisory committee to ensure Turismo Regina is “thoughtful and inclusive” with the people of the city.
There are no plans for a new rebrand until the policies are changed, the association said. Any new changes would also require the blessing of the advisory committee.
Rebranding and reporting costs the city over $120K
The slogans offended defenders, who say the phrases were regressive.
Kristen McLeod, who is part of a group called Reimagine Regina, said she feels the association is shirking responsibility.
“To say the board was unaware or not accountable, I can accept that part. I think what I struggle with is the idea that it all got a little confusing,” he said. “It doesn’t work in my mind. And it seemed to me that they were pushing everything on this nameless person who pushed send an email.”
Cuff’s report cost the Regina Exhibition Association Ltd. approximately $90,000. The organization also paid for his trip and spent $30,000 on the rebranding.
McLeod said he believes the matter will cost the city more as it tries to repair the damage done to its reputation.
“All the people, all the companies, all the operators of tourism agencies, we are all going to have to work harder to overcome this,” he said.