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posted by janrinok on Monday March 30 2015, @05:43PM   Printer-friendly
from the Pete-Seeger-singing-"when-will-they-ever-learn?-when-will-they-ever-learn?" dept.

Alison Griswold writes that in an effort to improve its tanking image, SeaWorld launched a new advertising campaign this week to educate the public about its “leadership in the care of killer whales” and other work to protect whales in captivity and in the wild. As part of that head-on initiative, someone at SeaWorld decided to invite Twitter users to pose their questions to the company directly using the hashtag #AskSeaWorld. That was not a good idea as twitter users bashed Sea World relentlessly. "As easy as it is to make fun of SeaWorld here, the real question is why any company still thinks hosting an open Twitter forum could be good for public relations," writes Griswold. "So maybe SeaWorld’s social and PR folks just really have no idea what they’re doing. Even so, you’d think they’d have learned from the corporate failures before them."

Let’s review some of the times this has backfired, starting with the infamous McDonald’s #McDStories Twitter campaign of January 2012. Rather than prompting customers to share their heart-warming McDonald’s anecdotes, the hashtag gave critics a highly visible forum to share their top McDonald’s horror stories. MacDonalds pulled the campaign within two hours but they discovered that crowd-sourced campaigns are hard to control. Three years later the #McDStories hashtag is still gathering comments. "Twitter Q&As are a terrible idea.," concludes Griswold. "A well-meaning hashtag gives critics an easy way to assemble and voice their complaints in a public forum. Why companies still try them is a great mystery. Maybe they’ll all finally learn from SeaWorld and give this one horrible PR trick up for good."

 
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  • (Score: 2, Touché) by Anonymous Coward on Monday March 30 2015, @05:58PM

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday March 30 2015, @05:58PM (#164391)

    And yet you spent at least 10 seconds posting that message.

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  • (Score: 3, Funny) by davester666 on Monday March 30 2015, @06:33PM

    by davester666 (155) on Monday March 30 2015, @06:33PM (#164411)

    Of course. The babes LOVE men who post on SN.

  • (Score: 4, Insightful) by Ethanol-fueled on Monday March 30 2015, @06:56PM

    by Ethanol-fueled (2792) on Monday March 30 2015, @06:56PM (#164424) Homepage

    Which raises the question, how many people bashing Sea World are doing so just because the saw some trendy movie and think they're totally righteous?

    How many people bashing Sea World have actually been to Sea World? How many of those understand Sea World's contribution to science, research, and even care and rescue of marine life?

    How many of those people aren't also bashing every zoo, aquarium, and pet store not only here in San Diego (where I live) but where they live?

    Don't get me wrong, I think we should avoid putting animals in captivity wherever possible and I also think Sea World is a mediocre theme park better suited to tourist rubes for the admissions prices it charges. But if there's one thing I hate more than making circuses from animals it's the same self-righteous bandwagoner parrot punks who likely also protesting college rape extravaganzas and Whitey keepin' the man down from some upper middle-class gated community.

    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Monday March 30 2015, @07:14PM

      by Anonymous Coward on Monday March 30 2015, @07:14PM (#164431)

      Sea World's evil, but that's okay, cos Whitey's on the moon.

    • (Score: 3, Funny) by jimshatt on Monday March 30 2015, @07:51PM

      by jimshatt (978) on Monday March 30 2015, @07:51PM (#164448) Journal
      We should capture those people and make a theme park: SJW World! I'd love to see them jumping through hoops.
    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Monday March 30 2015, @08:13PM

      by Anonymous Coward on Monday March 30 2015, @08:13PM (#164456)

      right on, brutha! today's social activist leaders look a lot like yesterdays evangelical ministers and populist politicians. they play their pied pipes for the power of the masses that will follow.

    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Monday March 30 2015, @09:00PM

      by Anonymous Coward on Monday March 30 2015, @09:00PM (#164475)

      Which raises the question, how many people bashing Sea World are doing so just because the saw some trendy movie and think they're totally righteous?

      Which raises the question, how many people bashing people bashing Sea World are doing so just because it's trendy in their tribe and think they are totally righteous?

      Social change requires informing people who were otherwise ignorant because most people are too busy living their lives to pay attention to much else. Shitting on someone because their social protest is not pure enough is just a way to make yourself feel better by putting down others.

      Go ahead, shit on a politician for taking up a cause and then dumping it once it's no longer in the headlines, but not regular people. Whatever tiny amount of self-serving benefit a regular person gets out of becoming a smidgeon more socially-consciousness is a perfectly acceptable price to pay. Nobody in this world is purely altruistic. You might have a leg to stand on if you were actually out there picketing Sea World yourself, but writing drunk and bitchy troll posts on the internet does not count.

    • (Score: 2) by DeathMonkey on Monday March 30 2015, @09:28PM

      by DeathMonkey (1380) on Monday March 30 2015, @09:28PM (#164495) Journal

      How many of those people aren't also bashing every zoo, aquarium, and pet store not only here in San Diego (where I live) but where they live?
       
      I'm seeing a lot of PETA stuff in the examples. Those folks do indeed protest all those things.
       
      I think the case against SeaWorld is quite a bit more clear cut simply due to the size of the animal relative to the cage.

    • (Score: 2) by hemocyanin on Monday March 30 2015, @09:56PM

      by hemocyanin (186) on Monday March 30 2015, @09:56PM (#164512) Journal

      OK, I'll bite. Is there any peer reviewed research that has come out of SeaWorld -- I mean, other than studies on how decades in solitary confinement makes Orcas a bit wonky in the head?

      And yes, I feel have the right to bitch about SeaWorld. I won't eat anything in my class (mammalia) for ethical reasons (mammals are pretty smart and we have a neo-cortex), nor would I torture them for other's enjoyment and some cash.

      • (Score: 2) by Grishnakh on Tuesday March 31 2015, @05:02PM

        by Grishnakh (2831) on Tuesday March 31 2015, @05:02PM (#164889)

        I won't eat anything in my class (mammalia) for ethical reasons (mammals are pretty smart and we have a neo-cortex), nor would I torture them for other's enjoyment and some cash.

        Mammals aren't the only smart animals: birds are pretty smart too, despite that old expression "bird brain". Do you eat chicken?

        I'll eat beef and chicken like most other Americans, but I do look forward to the development of industrial-grown meat (meat grown artificially without the whole animal) so we don't have to have this ethical problem any more. In the meantime, I do try to buy more humanely-raised meat when I can (free-range chicken, etc.).

        However, I think there's a big difference between humanely growing and killing animals for food, and torturing them for entertainment and profit. Anyone who defends the latter is probably a sociopath IMO.

        • (Score: 2) by hemocyanin on Tuesday March 31 2015, @09:24PM

          by hemocyanin (186) on Tuesday March 31 2015, @09:24PM (#165064) Journal

          Yes -- many birds are smart. But I'm a classist and birds, fish, crustaceans, and mollusks are not in my class. So I eat them. Except for Octopi -- I've granted them honorary mammal status despite being so freakin' tasty. Squid though are sort of an invasive species, so I don't grant them honorary mammal status.

          • (Score: 2) by Grishnakh on Tuesday March 31 2015, @10:04PM

            by Grishnakh (2831) on Tuesday March 31 2015, @10:04PM (#165087)

            Octopi are freakishly intelligent. I heard a story about a pet store where some animal (mice I think) kept disappearing at night. They put a camera in, and found out that an octopus was crawling out of its aquarium, over to the mouse cage, opening it and grabbing a snack, and then returning to its aquarium and lifting the lid to let itself back in. Considering they're sea creatures and shouldn't have any experience with living in air on land, being able to adapt to living in a pet store and go grab other animals as snacks, including manipulating cage-door mechanisms and lids seems rather remarkable.

            As for classes, fish aren't particularly intelligent, nor are crustaceans, probably not much smarter than earthworms. Mollusks I don't think even have a brain, and are probably no smarter than a tree.

    • (Score: 3, Interesting) by Thexalon on Monday March 30 2015, @11:13PM

      by Thexalon (636) on Monday March 30 2015, @11:13PM (#164548)

      How many people bashing Sea World have actually been to Sea World?

      The guy who has been leading the latest round of anti-Sea World efforts used to work at Sea World as a trainer. He was nearly killed by a whale, even though he was doing everything he was supposed to do to protect himself. He was motivated by the case of another trainer who was killed by a whale, even though she was doing everything she was supposed to do to protect herself, and that Sea World management basically blamed it on the dead trainer (probably for lawsuit, insurance, and OSHA purposes).

      How many of those understand Sea World's contribution to science, research, and even care and rescue of marine life?

      1. Approximately 0.0006% [grist.org] of Sea World's revenue goes towards conservation and rescue efforts.
      2. Sea World has put in a total of about $1 million [whales.org] annually into research and science, accounting for approximately 2% of their annual profits. According to the linked article, it looks like most of that money has gone towards research aimed at showing that locking up orcas isn't bad for them.

      So yes, I think there are some legitimate concerns that Sea World is failing to address, and the fraction of their revenue that goes to science, research, care, and rescue does not absolve their sins.

      --
      Alcohol makes the world go round ... and round and round.