Seaworld’s Latest Faux Pas

To continue our controversial conversation about SeaWorld, Mashable recently published an article about SeaWorld’s latest failed attempt to save their brand. The release of the documentary Blackfish in 2013 has launched a series of problems for SeaWorld, including a tarnished image and sloping ticket sales. This year, they are implementing a new PR campaign in hopes to revitalize their brand and dispute accusations of animal cruelty.

SeaWorld’s latest component of their PR campaign was to launch a section on their site SeaWorld Cares where anyone could ask questions, and SeaWorld would tweet a response. Their effort to address their criticism elicited very harsh remarks from the general public.

SeaWorld’s response was equally harsh, and childish in my opinion. They called their haters “so 2014″…and used terrible meme placement. My question for them is: why did they not anticipate negative responses? Their defensive and bitter stance tells me that they were surprised and angered by response. This was crisis management at its worst. If the social media campaign had been well thought out, SeaWorld would have analyzed their audience ahead of time, so they could have anticipated the types of responses they would receive, and have diplomatic responses on hand.


Seaworld 2

Its clear that SeaWorld’s social media coordinator was offended by the responses by bots and trolls. But here’s a fun fact, Twitter is rife with them! It almost appears that their Twitter coordinator didn’t understand how Twitter works. In order to counteract them, SeaWorld spammed the audience with similar responses that were cursory.Screen-Shot-2015-03-27-at-5.12.25-PM In the end, SeaWorld is coming across as defensive, unapproachable, and inauthentic. They responded in childish ways to negative criticism, when they should have anticipated their audience and had considerate responses on hand. In particular, their tweet that said “Jacking hashtags is so 2014” was rude and alienated their audience. SeaWorld’s ambition to save their brand sinks further and further.

This entry was posted in Activism, Branding, Marketing, Social Media, Twitter and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Seaworld’s Latest Faux Pas

  1. sydhavely says:

    Your blog post is totally on point and timely. Absolutely great post, Danielle. And well-done last week. You nailed it.

  2. Margaret Linnehan says:

    We were discussing SeaWorld and Blackstone Corporation who buys companies for investment purposes. Blackstone currently only owns 22% of SeaWorld and will sell off the rest of it’s ownership as soon as it can. My point that I brought up in the class was regarding investment companies, such as Blackstone. They do check out the companies, such as they did with SeaWorld before investing exactly for this reason. They do not want their name associated with a company that is not caring for it’s animals.

    We were also discussing the fact that PETA’s movie is not completely factual. PETA added stillbirths into it’s longevity study of the killer whale’s life span. While SeaWorld is doing a terrible job of responding on Social Media, I still do not believe because PETA made a movie that their information if factual. Not everything is always as it appears, especially on Social Media.

    Nice Post Colleen.

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