Coming off the recent news that SeaWorld is pulling the plug on its controversial Orca whale breeding program, the amusement park is not sitting back quietly and is using a positive campaign to peel back the layers and have an open discussion about orcas.
The pressure mounted over the years from PeTA and other groups that eventually led to the controversial “Blackfish” documentary that helped build public pressure for SeaWorld to make changes. SeaWorld Entertainment has introduced a new ad campaign highlighting its 50-year commitment to continuous evolution, new killer whale habitats and debunking censure from activists. The campaign is not looking to take on the documentary or PeTA head on, rather its about building a dialogue directly with the public.
“There’s been a lot of misinformation and even lies spread about SeaWorld, and we recognize that it has caused some people to have questions about the welfare of killer whales in human care,” stated David D’Alessandro, Chairman and Interim CEO, SeaWorld Entertainment. “This long-term campaign will address those questions head on,” he added. “We want to provide the facts, so people can make up their own minds on this important issue.”
The campaign is about transparency and building a two-way dialogue with the public about its parks, the whales and any other pressing questions they may have. The campaign is built around it new “You Ask. We Answer.” website and taking the public’s questions head on via the @SeaWorld Twitter handle. There are also videos added to YouTube to give people an open behind-the-scenes look at how these animals are cared for.
WATCH as #SeaWorld employees read #SweetTweets from inspired fans. http://t.co/es3DtB5DNU
— SeaWorld (@SeaWorld) March 24, 2015
There are also print ads launched in major newspapers like the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Washington Post, Los Angeles Times and other media outlets throughout the Orlando, San Diego and San Antonio areas, where SeaWorld operates marine parks.
“The tide has turned for SeaWorld,” commented Jared Goodman, PeTA’s Director of Animal Law, to the Sun Herald about the campaign, which he called “a last-ditch effort to sway a public that has already made up its mind.”
According to reports, SeaWorld has spent $10 million in efforts at rehabilitation, announcing it would build larger enclosures for its whales. The company is also making efforts to contribute to ongoing killer whale research and ocean health.
Joel Manby, who is SeaWorld’s incoming CEO starting in April, will have an uphill battle ahead, but it is still too soon to tell if these efforts will result in a better perception of the SeaWorld brand and bring people through the gates.
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