This will be short and sweet. Most of us have seen Blackfish. Many of us have boycotted SeaWorld. The PR nightmare SeaWorld faces continues despite clever-ish (sorry) ad campaigns that have marginally raised some numbers, however, I have very exciting news for you that, frankly, you should have been able to figure out on your own. You can fix it without needing morals or a conscience! SeaWorld’s Board of Directors seem to be lacking morals or consciences anyway, so let’s just move forward with a plan to rehab SeaWorld in the public eye in a way that will make you gobs and gobs of money without worrying about morals. Sound good?
I. SeaWorld the Sanctuary
First, just grab a couple of those pesky animal welfare activists that are taking your profits down the toilet and hire them in consultant positions to (1) turn SeaWorld into a for-profit sanctuary wherein the whole park becomes basically a park/museum for SeaWorld Rescue. Yes, yes, I know SeaWorld Rescue currently only accounts for something pathetic like a 0.0006% revenue spend. Change that. Make the whole “Explore! Inspire! Act! SeaWorld Cares!” thing your new business model and make those pesky animal welfare people partner with you to transition over. You keep the parks and lose the dolphins and orcas, but you can keep the injured/sick/unable to survive in the wild animals you “save,” who will now be “ambassadors” for their species to hordes of adoring children at your new sanctuary, all of whom will be accompanied by parents with pockets full of cash they’re dying to spend in this fab new guilt-free “sanctuary” of a park. Getting the animal welfare people (especially PETA) on board as consultants and getting them to link their names with yours gives you legitimacy with their followers (all those people currently protesting you) and makes them invested in your success – ohhhh, the joy of it when they tell their people to support you and buy a ticket for “doing the right thing.”
II. Pay-Per-View for a Literal “Free Willy” Series of Moments
OK, you’ve got a bunch of dolphins and whales being masturbated- err, mistreated-err, whatever, at your “park,” right now. You’ve got protesters in the street about it and you’ve got big animal welfare organizations pissed off. Never mind animal welfare! You’ve got to save your bank account! Breath, just breath. It’s not that hard. As you do your amazing PR makeover from SeaWorldSuxto SeaWorldSanctuaryas outlined in Section I, above, you’ll get those aforementioned animal welfare peeps to advise you on how and where to release the dolphins and orcas – I know, I know, you’re already crying. Stop crying. You’re going to make a ton of money and it will keep coming. MORE money than you’ll make from the current captives. You will do a huge, glitzy media blast all along the lines of “Free Willy” (don’t worry; most people don’t know the real Willy had a less than happy ending to his story when he died of Pneumonia, and, anyway, you can learn from that and be prepared). Every dolphin and whale will have a live interactive media platform users can interact with and they can donate to send “Wanda” or whoever to the ocean or to a Sea Sanctuary(you will have to send some proceeds to the Sea Sanctuary-sorry, but you’ll still make a ton of money). There will be a countdown clock at the top to the time the animals are released. Each release will be a different (pay) event and on a different day involving concerts (which you’ll charge for) and viewing parties (which you’ll charge for) and lots of cool T-shirts (which you’ll charge for). I urge you to send your orcas with still-living wild mother orcas in the open ocean right back to those wild mamas because…just think of the ratings! That’s such an intense reunion and if it fails, well, you’ll just blame it on your animal welfare consultants and show how you did the right thing and sometimes life isn’t perfect, but you’ll make a ton of money promoting the event, giving rights to televise and stream the event, maybe selling tickets to some boats full of gawkers to watch the event with lots of beer and SeaWorld swag. Then there will be the books, the movies, the talk shows. When SeaWorld finally began to care! And everyone will think you’re a saint when really you’re just making tons of money. How great would that be? You can have lines of shirts and tote bags for each animal – “Free So-And-So!” and YOU get all the profits this time, not those animal welfare organizations. Take that, haters!
You can easily make this drag on for a full year of releases and make money hand over fist while gleaming under the light of your new halo and continuing your dicey animal exhibitions with the poor rescued animals SeaWorldRescue finds injured and unable to return to the wild. Your park attendees don't care whether it's an adorable injured seal or a kidnapped, tortured orca they're watching live - they really don't.
III. Live Streaming and Online Interactions in Sea Sanctuaries … or the Open Ocean if You’re Feeling Particularly Bold
Now, on those multi-media platforms you’re using for each animal, you can list all the reasons the animals might NOT survive in the open ocean – because you made them to used to humans, deprived them of the ability to learn to hunt, socialize, or maybe something more PR-friendly, but make it clear this is a game of risk! This game is for the bold. Everyone’s hearts will be on tenterhooks. The release party isn’t the end of this profit making game at all! People can pay to tune in to follow the progress of each animal and donate to the Sea Sanctuary, if she or he is in a Sea Sanctuary (with a piece going to you, too, of course) or pay to follow tracking progress in the great wide ocean. If you’re transparent about the possibility for sad endings, you still win. “Yes, she did die, but she died with her loving mother in the ocean she was born in; not in a tiny concrete tank and you should donate to us now to help us save other animals from those similar fates we gave them in the first place! Money please!” It’ll work, but just don’t say it quite like that. And don’t forget the very real possibility that the story endings could be really happy. The animals could live for a really long time and excited SeaWorld lovers could follow their progress, donate towards “research” about them and continue to buy all sorts of themed products based on them.
The concerts will return. The crowds will return. The MONEY will return. You don’t care about doing the right thing. But you do care about money. This plan is for the bold company who knows how to take a lemonand make a billion dollars out of it.