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Bruised SeaWorld Launches Bid to Rehab Image

Or what PETA calls a 'last-ditch effort'
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Mar 24, 2015 11:58 AM CDT
Bruised SeaWorld Launches Bid to Rehab Image
This Feb. 14, 2013 file photo provided by SeaWorld San Diego shows killer whale Katsaka and her calf swimming at SeaWorld San Diego's Shamu Stadium.   (AP Photo/SeaWorld San Diego, Mike Aguilera, File)

(Newser) – SeaWorld is mounting its public defense in a new ad campaign that kicked off yesterday. Revenue and attendance at SeaWorld have fallen since the 2013 release of the documentary Blackfish, which examined what led a killer whale to kill a trainer in 2010 at SeaWorld Orlando. The YouTube campaign shows videos of behind-the-scenes caring for SeaWorld's marine mammals by company vets, while the print campaign features the company's top veterinarian saying the animals' "health and well-being is my priority every day." The print ads target major national newspapers, as well as those in Orlando, San Diego, and San Antonio, where SeaWorld has parks. A television campaign will follow later this spring.

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A SeaWorld rep wouldn't say how much the advertising would cost, but says "there's been a lot of misinformation out in the public about who we are and what we do. It has been a one-sided conversation." A rep for PETA, which has organized anti-SeaWorld campaigns, called the ad blitz "a last-ditch effort." SeaWorld says it has spent $10 million on all its efforts at rehabilitating its reputation. It's been a rough stretch: Last year, SeaWorld's revenue declined 3% from the previous year, several celebrities backed out of a concert series, its chief executive resigned, and the company announced plans to build larger environments for its killer whales. (Read more SeaWorld stories.)

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