By Anna Rudin
As we know, SeaWorld is one of the most popular attractions in Orlando Florida, ranking the 10th most visited amusement park in the United States and nineteenth worldwide. The Shamu Stadium being one of the most admired live entertainments holding a seven million gallon home for the parks 7 killer whales. There has been much controversy over the issue of having such large species in a confined body of water; this has pushed some over the edge leading to a plethora of lawsuits and SeaWorld new marketing push, the “Ask SeaWorld” campaign.
— SeaWorld (@SeaWorld) March 27, 2015
March 27th , 2015 “Ask SeaWorld” marketing campaign includes TV and print ads also inviting the public to submit questions via twitter about how the company treats their animals. This backfired making it a top social fail on social media. This campaign created the trending hash tag on twitter #AskSeaWorld followed by @SeaWorld. Creators of this campaign thought it would encourage those who are interested in their parks or the mammals in general to ask about topics ranging from breeding to safety and training questions, little would they know, this would spiral in a negative direction. The twitter timeline got slammed with harsh comments from activists and animal lovers that were unhappy with the company and the living situations of their marine life.
— Marine Connection (@MC_org) February 7, 2016
The company has been under, struggling to convince the public that their orcas are not mistreated since the death of trainer Dawn Brancheau in 2010 and the Black Fish documentary in 2013, the Askseaworld.com campaign was supposed to help them by marketing well thought out questions about killer whale care to keep customers happy. The #AskSeaWorld was hijacked by animal right campaigners trending the #Emptythetanks, #blackfish along with quotes “are your tanks filled with orca tears?” many found that the campaign was not working and that the company had many misleading statements about the whales which caused even more uproar.
— kenneth one (@kowloonsunday) March 24, 2015
After years of negative publicity SeaWorld took the chance creating the new campaign to try to “counter misinformation”. The hash tag #AskSeaWorld was to promise answers from experts but opponents of SeaWorld were much more organized with their negative responses beating out the positive responses by a landslide. A rising question discussed that held debate was talking about how the company should stop being fixated on the AskSeaWorld campaign spending millions of dollars creating a website trying to find a solution for its image for the better, but instead should be spending more money on rehabbing the orcas making the environment as “natural as possible”. If I were to help this campaign on having a more positive outreach to the public I would agree with the statement above, I think spreading awareness on social media can in fact make or break a company, if SeaWorld wants people to look at them differently they should invest in making the living environments for orcas more sustainable and suitable for the large mammals.
This debate of having orcas in such a small living area has been an discussed over social media for years now. Visit http://ask.seaworldcares.com/ and ask your own questions or check #AskSeaWorld on twitter to see how this social fail spiraled out of control.
Katie, L. (2015, March 27) ‘Ask seaworld’ marketing campaign backfires http://money.cnn.com/2015/03/27/news/companies/ask-seaworld-twitter/
Sabrina, W. (2015, March 29) SeaWorld #AskSeaWorld Twitter Campaign Backfires Massively
Becky, P. (2015, March 31) “Are your tanks filled with orca tears?”
2015 SeaWorld Parks and Entertainment
Twitter.com use #AskSeaWorld or @SeaWorld