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Making a Splash over the World's Saddest Dolphins
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Making a Splash over the World's Saddest Dolphins



This case was prepared by Keith Kay & Shannon Chau as an assignment for CS 4033 Corporate Communications Management at Nanyang Technological University.

This case was prepared by Keith Kay & Shannon Chau as an assignment for CS 4033 Corporate Communications Management at Nanyang Technological University.



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Making a Splash over the World's Saddest Dolphins Presentation Transcript

  • 1. PREPARED BY Keith Kay & Shannon Chau
  • 2. Disclaimer This case was developed based on archival research with the sole purpose for class discussion. It does not aim to serve as endorsements or to be used as a source of primary data to illustrate managerial practices of the organization(s) or individual(s) mentioned in the case.
  • 3. Case Objective This case aims to illustrate how vocal antagonistic stakeholder groups can cause issues to arise for an organization, posing a threat to its image and reputation. At the end of the case study, you will be asked to analyze the situation and formulate the appropriate strategies to be undertaken to maintain stakeholder relations.
  • 4. The Organization Resorts World Sentosa (RWS) •  An integrated resort that won a government approved bid to own one of two casinos licenses in Singapore •  A subsidiary of Genting Holdings, a Malaysian leisure and hospitality conglomerate –  Owns Star Cruises –  Owns multiple casinos and hotels in Singapore, Malaysia, Hong Kong, Philippines, USA and UK.
  • 5. About RWS •  Opened in 2010 •  Home to two mega-attractions –  Universal Studios Singapore –  Marine Life Park – S.E.A Aquarium, Adventure Cove Waterpark and Dolphin Island •  Named “Best Integrated Resort” in 2011 and 2012 at the TTG Travel Awards
  • 6. The problem Surfaces •  Animal activist groups objected when RWS announced plans to have whale sharks and dolphins as one of its attractions. –  Krist Boo, Vice-Chairman of Communications at RWS, refuted by claiming that there were “currently no plans to import dolphins”. •  Eventually, RWS bought 27 bottlenose dolphins worth USD$60,000 each from a Canadian trader. •  Environmentalists were up in arms as they felt that catching wild dolphins was a more harmful practice compared to purchasing dolphins bred in captivity. –  Discussions between activists groups and RWS did not yield any fruitful outcome.
  • 7. Deaths in the family •  October 2010: two dolphins held in Langkawi died. •  RWS only gave an official response two months later when confronted by the media. – News was withheld as they were waiting for the pathology results. – Findings later showed that the dolphins died of bacterial infection.
  • 8. Deaths in the family •  Various animal welfare groups, led by Animal Concerns Research and Education Society (ACRES) were angered and urged RWS to rethink about housing the dolphins in Marine Life Park. –  Reported that the conditions of the holding pens in Langkawi was “appalling” –  Refuted by RWS who called it “cursory” and “inaccurate in parts”
  • 9. SAVE THE WORLD’s SADDEST DOLPHINS CAMPAIGN •  Launched in May 2011 •  www.saddestdolphins.com •  ACRES’s stance: –  “We are not asking for RWS to abandon their Marine Life Park attraction plan, but instead to focus on housing species that can adapt well to captivity and to run an attraction that can indeed play a proper role in education and conservation”    
  • 10. SAVE THE WORLD’s SADDEST DOLPHINS CAMPAIGN •  Public was informed of the dolphins’ plight and were urged to help lobby for the freedom of the dolphins through video petitions, that would be uploaded to the campaign’s Facebook page. •  Garnered 25,902 ‘likes’ to date.
  • 11. SAVE THE WORLD’s SADDEST DOLPHINS CAMPAIGN •  Gained endorsement from credible spokespersons –  Richard O’Barry, Film maker of “The Cove” –  Dame Dr. Jane Goodall –  2011 Presidental election candidates –  Mexican Senator Jorge Legorreta Ordorica •  In attempt to shame RWS, roadshows and talks were also conducted in heartland malls to raise awareness. –  Led to a online petition with over 800,000 signatures globally –  Plenty of media attention, both locally and internationally
  • 12. SAVE THE WORLD’s SADDEST DOLPHINS CAMPAIGN •  1,000 supporters turned up for the concert at the Speakers’ Corner in Hong Lim Park. •  Featured performances by local and international acts. •  Both the local and international media were also invited to witness the highlight of the concert – the formation of a leaping dolphin by concert-goers.
  • 13. A TURN FOR THE WORSE •  November 2012: another dolphin died en-route from Philippines to Singapore due to bacterial infection. –  The importation happened despite aggressive opposition by activists groups •  ACRES threatened to organize a boycott of Marine Life Park and all of Genting Holding properties –  Online poll by Yahoo! News: 67% of respondents would boycott the Marine Life Park.
  • 14. Some Responses by RWS THROUGHOUT THE ISSUE •  Just doing our job –  “What we are doing here is part of our proposal, which the Singapore Government will expect us to fulfil” •  Dolphins are suited for captivity –  “Dolphins in captivity can live twice as long as their counterparts in the wild” •  Unethical to release –  “It would be gravely irresponsible for us to contemplate any thought of letting our animals into the wild after three years in human care.” •  Dolphins are well taken care of –  “We place the highest priority on the health and comfort of all our animals, and would never, under any circumstances, compromise their well-being in any way”
  • 15. The Saga continues •  Despite efforts by RWS to contain the issue, it remains unresolved till today. •  21 September 2013: ACRES organised a peaceful protest outside Genting Casino London, UK •  Urged the public to boycott all Genting Casinos until the dolphins are rehabilitated and released
  • 16. Discussion 1.  Why is this an issue for RWS? 2.  Who are the affected stakeholders in this case and what are their concerns? 3.  Among the stakeholders you listed, who will you prioritize and why? 4.  If you were the corporate communications manager, how will you address their concerns, and why did you choose this strategy? 5.  How should RWS maintain relations with its stakeholders given that the Dolphin Island project went ahead despite numerous protests?