by CAMILLE PANGGAT
According to the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, also known as PETA, the release of 2013 documentary Blackfish played a significant role in the company’s decline within the last year. The documentary, which linked the maltreatment of orcas in SeaWorld facilities to the deaths of its trainer Dawn Brancheau in 2010, led to a drop of 4% in park attendance in 2014, which then played a big role in the company’s overall 6% drop in revenue, which translates to a loss of about $1.4 billion.
PETA director of animal law, Jared Goodman, commented that “[p]eople who care about animals are disturbed to learn the truth behind captivity at SeaWorld, and abusing animals for profit will soon be something that’s relegated to the history books.” SeaWorld, however, is now responding to the negative publicity brought upon by the documentary and, in a conference call on Thursday, announced that they are planning on a new marketing campaign to change the perception and reputation that Blackfish has brought upon on their company. Board Chairman and interim CEO of SeaWorld, David D’Alessandro says that, the campaign, which will be launched in April, will be a “reputational campaign that helps restore our reputation,” and that it is “ a campaign about the truth of SeaWorld.” D’Alessandro says that the campaign targets those who “wants to know our side of the story” and that this campaign is about “changing mind-sets and making sure mind-sets stay changed, recognizing that the opposition is not going to stand still as we do this.” In addition to this campaign, SeaWorld had also revealed last year that they were planning on a Blue World Project, which would almost double the size of the current orca environments in SeaWorld San Diego, and that they will establish a committee of scientists to oversee their orca programs.