The tourism organisation for Regina, Canada, has apologised after critics claimed its new advertising campaign “sexualised” the city.
A series of new slogans leaned into the city’s double-entendre name – with taglines such as “show us your Regina” and “the city that rhymes with fun”.
Some residents said it was immature and belittling to women.
Experience Regina apologised on Sunday, saying the rebrand crossed a line and created “negative impact”.
“I want to start by apologising, on behalf of myself and our team, for the negative impact we created with elements of our recent brand launch,” said Tim Reid, of Experience Regina, in a statement.
Experience Regina said it was trying to take ownership of a name that has become a crude joke for some.
Amid a growing backlash, the agency released a further statement on Monday saying it will involve more diverse stakeholders in the decision-making process in future.
And in a bid to calm the storm, Regina Mayor Sandra Masters, who originally was in support of the rebrand, will hold a news conference on Wednesday.
Local businesses that added the new slogans to merchandise have also apologised and removed the products.
“I want to express how incredibly disappointed and appalled I am with the sexist messaging of the new Experience Regina,” said Cheryl Stadnichuk, Ward 1 City councillor.
“We have extremely high rates of intimate partner violence and sexual assault in our city. As a society, we have a responsibility to teach boys and men about consent.”
One person asked on Twitter: “Exactly what kind of tourists, businesses and residents are they hoping to attract?”
Another person said: “That was a gross and embarrassing rebrand”.
Some residents have suggested the city should be known as its nickname, “the Queen city”, after Queen Victoria.
The new slogan was supposed to echo a song uploaded to YouTube in 2008 that eventually went on to be played and popularised by Jimmy Fallon on NBC’s The Tonight Show.