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Posts Tagged ‘SeaWorld’

SeaWorld Breathes a Sigh of Relief As Blackfish Shut Out of Oscar Nominations

So the Oscar nominations came out today, and we have to say: Jonah Hill‘s come a long way since Knocked Up.

We also agree with the Orlando Sentinel: there’s little doubt that SeaWorld execs and company reps were anxious about today’s announcement and even less doubt that they’re glad Blackfish didn’t get the nod for Best Documentary Feature.

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And yes, that’s definitely why they chose this week to announce that they’d broken attendance and revenue records in 2013.

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Survey Shows SeaWorld’s Reputation Damaged but Intact

It's gonna be OK. Not really though.

“It’s gonna be OK, boy (not really though).”

We’ve written a good bit about SeaWorld’s reputation struggles recently; we even included the company on our list of 2013′s “biggest losers“, because have you seen Blackfish? Damn.

You can’t always trust social media, though: a recent survey by YouGov‘s Brand Index shows us that the damage might not be quite as bad as we thought. In fact, it’s been “comparatively far milder than other recent major crises in the news.”

Surprised?

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SeaWorld’s Apparent Attempt to Rig Opinion Poll Backfires

shutterstock_68472997What’s a surefire way to inspire people to seek out an opinion poll just to cast their negative votes against your organization? Get caught trying to rig said poll in your favor.

On December 31, the Orlando Business Journal posted a reader poll that asked, “Has CNN’s Blackfish documentary changed your perception of SeaWorld?” By Thursday, two days into the poll, the paper reported that a surprisingly overwhelming 99% of respondents said “no,” their opinion of the park had not been tarnished.

Sure, it makes sense that locals might look more favorably upon their own park than the wider public might, but 99% seems just a little too good to be true, doesn’t it? That’s because it was.

After the paper did a little digging, it found that more than half of the votes had been cast from a single IP address: SeaWorld.com. Read more

Did SeaWorld Kill a Forbes Story on the Blackfish Effect?

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Better days?

Oh, thank you, Outside, for alerting us to “SeaWorld‘s Fishy PR Tactics.

We added the brand to our list of 2013′s “biggest losers” due to the influence of critical doc Blackfish, and now it seems that someone representing the company is taking extra steps to minimize the public’s knowledge of that effect. The latest chapter in this saltwater drama concerns a Forbes piece that went up on New Year’s Day but only existed for “approximately an hour” until someone removed it.

Can we call this move “Blackfishwashing?”

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Blackfish Dodges a Black Eye from SeaWorld. Whatevs.

blackfish poster

If you haven’t seen this, you’re missing a bonafide Oscar-quality documentary.

Full Disclosure: I have been to SeaWorld many times. I have mini-mes who love the place.

Fuller Disclosure: I have seen Blackfish. Twice. And I may not consider going to SeaWorld again.

Fullest Disclosure: SeaWorld needs to fire whatever firm is in charge of its crisis communications because it is just too-little, way-too-late.

This Magnolia Pictures documentary is all over Netflix and it’s spreading on social media as well. Rotten Tomatoes gave it 98 percent on its beloved ‘Tomatometer.’ And 1980s retreads musical acts such as Heart and Joan Jett have backed out of SeaWorld-approved performances because of this documentary. But SeaWorld just now decided to act?!

Um, Nurse? We need a tourniquet because there is something seriously broken with this situation. STATRead more

‘Blackfish’ Documentary and SeaWorld’s Resulting PR War Inspire Pixar to Change ‘Finding Dory’ Storyline

Please note that this post contains possible spoilers for Pixar’s upcoming film “Finding Dory.”

As we reported a few weeks ago, Magnolia Pictures’ documentary “Blackfish,” which makes the case that orca whales in captivity suffer physical and mental distress, prompted SeaWorld Entertainment to launch a full-fledged PR campaign. Now, it seems, the publicity surrounding the film and the theme park has inspired Pixar to re-think the storyline for “Finding Dory“, its sequel to ‘Finding Nemo.”

“The script for Finding Dory, which is still in the early stages of production ahead of its planned 2015 release, initially had an ending that involved a marine park, according to a Pixar employee,” reports the New York Times. “But as a result of the sometimes harsh Blackfish, directed by Gabriela Cowperthwaite, and the resulting publicity battle SeaWorld has had to fight, Pixar decided to restructure that part of the story so that the fish and mammals taken to its aquatic center have the option to leave.”

So… it’s more like a fish hotel than an aquatic theme park? I guess we’ll have to wait and see.

We do wonder, though — just as we did when SeaWorld launched its no-holds-barred PR battle before “Blackfish” was even released — if such a preemptive move was wholly necessary. Read more

SeaWorld’s Preemptive PR Strike Against Potentially Damaging Documentary May Hurt, Not Help

Rather than lying low and waiting for the storm to pass as companies profiled in unflattering documentary exposés often do, SeaWorld, advised by the communications firm 42West, has taken the opposite approach.

Before last week’s New York and Los Angeles release of the Magnolia Pictures documentary “Blackfish,” which makes the case that orca whales in captivity suffer physical and mental distress, SeaWorld Entertainment took preemptive action in an attempt to prevent potential damage to its reputation.

About a week before the film’s release, the company sent a detailed critique of the movie to about 50 critics who were presumably about to review it. Among other things, SeaWorld claims that “Blackfish” exceeded the bounds of fair use by using training film and other video shot by the company. SeaWorld also says that filmmaker Gabriela Cowperthwaite deliberately positioned some scenes to create what SeaWorld executives claim is a false implication of wrongdoing. Additionally, by midweek last week the company was providing top executives and animal caretakers for interviews about the movie. Read more

PETA and SeaWorld Make the Perfect PR Storm

PETA is the crazy aunt Esther of public relations. You never know what she is going to say or do, and in a way you kind of love her for it. In many regards PETA is synonymous with public relations, because much of the public associates the brand with one of its many controversial campaigns.

From leveraging the power of human sexuality to animal cruelty, PETA has always managed to gain the public’s attention. This time, however, PETA is focusing its efforts on a more select audience: the stockholders at SeaWorld. PETA paid $2,273.70 for 80 shares of SeaWorld stock, which went public on April 19. With money comes access, and that amount is just enough to provide PETA access to SeaWorld’s annual meetings where it can promote its agenda and ask for policy changes.

SeaWorld, unsurprisingly, is not happy. PETA vehemently disapproves of SeaWorld’s very existence, claiming the park enslaves wildlife such as orca whales and profits from the imprisoning and display of animals. The treatment of animals is an emotional issue that resonates with the public, no matter where they stand on the issue. This makes the confrontation compelling for anyone in our industry. This is a battle for the hearts and minds of the American people.

Both PETA and SeaWorld claim that education is critical to winning over the public. PETA wants the public to understand SeaWorld’s true practices and motivations; SeaWorld wants the public to understand PETA’s true practices and motivations. Both believe they own the higher moral ground.

PETA has clearly been very successful at creating controversy, and by creating this controversy it can claim PR success the same way modern art—no matter how untalented and confusing—can achieve legitimacy by compelling people to talk about art. But industry experts know that emotions come and go.

To win the public the facts must prevail.

Tommy Lee and PETA: Spare Whales the Pain of Mötley Crüe

PETA, the often-controversial organization dedicated to the ethical treatment of animals (and to attending fashion shows armed with buckets of red paint) has its share of celebrity supporters. Everyone from Justin Bieber to Sir Paul McCartney has gotten in on the animal rights action.

The latest big-name animal fan to grab headlines is Tommy Lee, the Mötley Crüe drummer and tabloid fixture who recently sent a letter (PDF) on behalf of PETA to John T. Reilly, president of SeaWorld San Diego, requesting that the park stop using the band’s music in their “Shamu Rocks” show. Why? To spare the whales the extreme stress of listening to the blaring 80′s metal, of course (80′s parents: “We told you so!”).

It’s not that Shamu has anything against “Kickstart My Heart” — he’s more concerned with volume than the music itself. Read more