For maybe the first time ever, we feel like we owe a huge thank you to Harry Styles.
It seems that because of some of his activism, the world is finally starting to pay attention to the controversy surrounding Sea World and its treatment of animals. According to analysts at financial services company Credit Suisse, Harry's even managed to hurt the brand. That's a lot of power coming from one guy.
As most of you may know, the amusement park has come under a lot of fire lately for allegations of animal abuse and other heartbreaking issues, most of it coming from the 2013 documentary Blackfish, which investigated the story of one of Sea World's killer whales who had taken the lives of several people. Well now you can add the One Direction member to the anti-Sea World chorus.
It all started for Styles this July during a tour stop. "Does anybody like dolphins?" he asked his San Diego audience. "Don't go to Sea World!" He received praise from all sorts of animal activists, but it seems his work wasn't done.
Credit Suisse just released a report on the Sea World brand for investors, and it stated that Styles' comments, combined with an earlier news story about a Sea World employee posing as a PETA activist in hopes of inciting the group to illegal activity, caused perception of the park's online brand to plummet. What analysts call "online net sentiment" was -68% in July, a 26% drop from before.
For those who are unfamiliar with financial terms (meaning all of us), net sentiment measures the ratio of positive to negative comments on the Internet. Total mentions of Sea World grew 400% in July thanks to the light Harry shed on the issue. Even though we're not stock experts, we know a bad number when we see one—and this is a bad number.
Credit Suisse also mentioned in the report that it's not too late for Sea World to change public perception and get people back into the parks, but hopefully that turnaround would come with some major upgrades in animal treatment and welfare.
Maybe Harry could squeeze in some picketing during his next trip to San Diego? We know we'd join in.