SeaWorld launches TV advert to combat ‘public perception issues’

A new marketing approach from SeaWorld

Theme park giant SeaWorld has launched a new TV advert in San Diego to bolster its public image and broadcasts across the United States next year.

The Park to Planet TV slot features stunning views of the ocean, marine mammals, undersea exploration and the rescue of sea lion. A voiceover says: “From park to planet, see it here, save it here.”

At the end of the ad, viewers are informed that by visiting the parks, they could assist SeaWorld in contributing $10 million per annum, which goes towards conservation and animal rescue.

The 30-second TV ad began airing in San Diego two weeks previously. This follows a three-month digital-only campaign that the marketing team at SeaWorld say is receiving a positive response from online viewers.

SeaWorld rethinks its marketing message

“There was a time when we put the branded message out with the SeaWorld animals and then we took some of that away and went back to the typical event and attraction message but you need both,” said Denise Godreau, SeaWorld’s chief marketing officer.

“This particular ad, Park to Planet, worked remarkably well, beating every other message we’ve had, with higher consumer engagement.”

SeaWorld was able to track the number of people who clicked on the video, the length of time they viewed it and if it encouraged them to log on to the entertainment company’s website to buy a ticket.

The new marketing campaign comes just two months after Joel Manby, SeaWorld Entertainment’s CEO admitted it had been mistake to downsize the company’s advertising spend. Manby said in an earnings call with analysts that SeaWorld had previously invested more in marketing than its peers, according to the LA Times.

Park attendance and revenues suffered after the 2013 film release of Blackfish, which was critical of SeaWorld’s treatment of its killer whales.

ocean explorer SeaWorld

In August, the company reported that attendance across all of its 12 parks had dropped by 4% during the first half of the year, showing a net loss of $237 million. SeaWorld San Diego, in particular, was damaged by “public perception issues”.

The company announced it was cutting 350 jobs to invest in marketing and new rides.

The new ad received muted approval from George Belch, San Diego State business marketing professor. “It has great imagery of the ocean and the animal rescue thing, which is a very positive message,” he told the San Diego Union-Tribune.

“Are people now going to come because they think I have to help SeaWorld rescue animals? No, but it could factor in and make you feel a little less guilty about visiting SeaWorld.”