Sea World Case Study


Discussion Questions
1. How would you have responded initially to the allegations cited in the documentary? Be specific in describing your recommended communication strategy and tactics.
2. Why do you believe SeaWorld decided to shift its business and communication strategy and tactics months after the airing of Blackfish on CNN? What do you think of SeaWorld’s announcement that it will end its traditional orca shows at the SeaWorld San Diego park? Should it end the shows at its other two parks as well?
3. Do you believe that SeaWorld’s reputation campaign will have the desired effect of strengthening the company’s reputation and improving its relationship with stakeholders, particularly customers and business partners? Why or why not? What do you think of the tactics being used in this campaign?
4. After a century of elephants being part of the circus, Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey announced in 2015 that its elephants would “retire” and no longer perform. If you worked on SeaWorld’s strategic communication team, would you recommend the company take a similar action and “retire” its killer whales?
5. Put yourselves in the shoes of PETA and animal welfare activist groups. How would you rate their performance in leveraging the release of the Blackfish documentary and its airings on CNN? If you were working in strategic communication on behalf of PETA post-Blackfish, what should be the strategy and tactics used to keep the pressure on SeaWorld and its stakeholders?