SeaWorld’s reputation online sinks further, thanks to One Direction

One Direction lead singer Harry Styles is the latest detractor to turn the Internet against SeaWorld, as if the beleaguered amusement park needed another.

“Don’t go to SeaWorld,” Styles shouted toward a crowd of impressionable teens during a concert in San Diego last month, which happens to be SeaWorld’s headquarters. The comment, not surprisingly, barreled through social media with teens tweeting negatively about the park despite a tweet quickly sent by SeaWorld defending itself.

While criticism directed at SeaWorld isn’t anything new — it stems from the 2013 documentary “Blackfish” that accuses the company of animal abuse — analysts say Styles’ comments are more detrimental to the brand’s reputation than anything else.

Analysts at Credit Suisse released data yesterday saying that with the recent revelation of a SeaWorld employee working undercover at PETA plus Styles’ urge to boycott the park, there has been a 400 percent spike in mentions of SeaWorld online in the past two months, with 68 percent of comments trending negative.

But it was Styles’ comment that contributed to the majority of negative comments within the past three years, the analysts said.

Data compiled by Brandwatch for Digiday backs those numbers up. SeaWorld has garnered 1.2 million mentions since July 1, with 62 percent of tweets being negative. Two days after Styles’ call for a boycott, July 11, mentions of SeaWorld spiked 4.5 more times than normal.

Directioners, as One Direction fans are called online, are reveling in the news:

So, did teens online completely destroy SeaWorld’s chance of a comeback? Not yet.

“Perhaps we need to get a little more current on the latest boy bands; however, while this could negatively impact SEAS’ core demographic in San Diego, we don’t believe it’s too late for SEAS to rectify its brand impairment issues, particularly as their reputation campaign (launched in March) gains traction,” the analysts said, according to Business Insider.

If SeaWorld wants to prevent its brand from drowning, perhaps getting on the teens’ good side could be start.

Image via Flickr.

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