Largely thanks to the brilliant documentary, Blackfish, which exposed the truth behind the cruelty inflicted on cetaceans held captive at SeaWorld, the public’s viewpoint on the park has significantly changed, which has affected SeaWorld’s ticket sales. As a result, SeaWorld has made a number of desperate attempts to mask over their tarnished reputation, but none have really been successful. And now, in another desperate attempt to boost ticket sales, SeaWorld is using the name of conservation to bring people into their park with a new ad campaign.
The new commercial opens with eye-catching shots of wild animals swimming freely in the ocean, followed by shots of people scuba diving and cleaning up coastlines. If not for the split-second shots showing animals swaying in tanks, one would think this was a commercial about ocean conservation, which is exactly what SeaWorld wants people to think.
You can watch SeaWorld’s new commercial here, but a heads up, your eyes may roll from the hypocrisy.
However, it is certainly not in alignment with conservation to support a business that has kidnapped animals from the wild, kept them in tiny, inhumane enclosures for decades, trained them to do unnatural tricks in exchange for food, forcibly impregnated them against their will, and caused immense suffering and untimely deaths of numerous great living beings. If SeaWorld wants to clear up their reputation, this commercial will not do it. People are smart and can see through the desperate marketing attempt.
Theme park analyst at Pacific Asset Management, Bob Boyd, said this about the new ad campaign: “I think people will take a skeptical eye if it’s too over the top, and it’s right on the border in my view of not feeling as genuine…SeaWorld…[is] probably not going to save the planet.”
This seems like another ploy on SeaWorld’s long list of ways to gain favor with the public. They recently ended all of their captive breeding programs (granted, after a lawsuit) and phased out certiain gaudy performances with orcas. Additionally, SeaWorld San Diego introduced “educational orca experiences,” that show the animals in larger tanks with “natural” backdrops. These shows still involved orcas and trainers performing, but is coated with an educational dose of information about conservation. While SeaWorld does play a role in helping to rehabilitate and release injured marine animals – something their money would be better spent on – there is still no excuse for keeping any animal captive and on display.
With this latest campaign flop, we hope SeaWorld will start to seriously think about emptying the tanks for good, sending the animals to reputable sanctuaries, focusing all their efforts on ocean conservation (in the actual ocean!), and perhaps take a cue from National Geographic and open a real-to-life digital aquarium that can educate the public without any animals.
Although ticket sales have dropped, there are still many people who visit SeaWorld and other parks similar to it, so please share this with your network! When people stop paying to see wild animals trapped in bathtubs, the tanks can finally be emptied!
Image Source: SeaWorld/YouTube