The new ad is part of SeaWorld’s multimedia ‘Facts About SeaWorld’s Killer Whales’ campaign. In it, current SeaWorld trainers argue, against all scientific proof, that the park’s whales are well and happy and their survival rates are the same as those in the wild.
Ever since ‘Blackfish’ was released, exposing all of the park’s dirty little secrets and how mistreated its animals are, the park has been spending more and more time and money into trying to save its reputation. In 2014, the company upped its marketing budget to $189.4 million and that number is expected to be bigger for 2015.
“As regard to the reputation spending, we do have a little bit of news here. We have been working over the last 69 days quite diligently on pulling a marketing campaign for SeaWorld that is our normal marketing campaign which will be breaking sometime in late March and we are also – we’ve also spent a lot of time in research and marketing on the reputation side and we’ll be breaking a campaign no later than April in multiple media, in social media and print, digital,” explained CFO James Heaney at SeaWorld’s fourth quarter of 2014 earnings call on February 26, 2015.
So far, those campaigns haven’t gotten the desired effect. Its Twitter efforts with the hashtag #AskSeaWorld took a turn for the worse with animal advocates and concerned animal lovers asking SeaWorld how it could compare a tank to a life in the ocean among other questions. SeaWorld’s attempt to discredit former trainer John Hargrove, who appeared on ‘Blackfish’ and wrote a book about the park’s mistreatment of its orcas, by digging up a five-year-old video of him drunkenly using a racial slur was also mocked. As of today, the new ad campaign has more dislikes than likes on YouTube.
Meanwhile despite all that money spent, the park’s stock is still falling just like its attendance and revenue.