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.
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.)