Thankfully, Sunday’s SuperBowl game didn’t have any surprise chimp commercials—let’s hope CareerBuilder continues to listen to advocates and steer clear of any such thing. Even if they do choose to do another chimp commercial in the future (because they haven’t yet pledged otherwise) hopefully they can follow Adobe’s example and use CGI instead of a real chimpanzee actor.
More and more bigger companies are pulling commercials and making pledges to no longer work with apes, like Great Clips a few weeks ago. Despite this progress for chimps in the entertainment industry, ads are still popping up done by smaller, more local companies that aren’t using one of the top ten advertising agencies (all of which have pledged to never work with apes).
Recently our attention was brought to Ticket Clinic, who made several spots featuring a chimpanzee. The commercial was produced by Pirates for Parties—a facility that leases baby chimps out for media productions or parties. They claim the pictures of chimpanzees bearing all their teeth are “happy” and are “thrilled to come to entertain at a party or corporate event, or act in your commercial, movie, or television show.” We know that this is not how chimpanzees smile, but rather it is a facial expression that indicates fear (and it actually is called a “fear grimace”). Happy chimpanzees droop their bottom lip and cover their top teeth.
Sadly, another even more recent commercial produced for a smaller business is this one for Super Home Surplus. Again, just like in the Ticket Clinic commercial, you can see the chimp fear grimacing and doing other unnatural or trained behaviors, like flailing around or moving their lips as if they were talking. If you haven’t already seen it, check out this video about apes in entertainment. About a minute and a half in, you’ll see some clips demonstrating how trainers intimidate their chimpanzee actors.
Let Ticket Clinic and Super Home Surplus know it isn’t OK to use chimps this way. If we can get companies to understand the truth and stop making productions featuring chimpanzees, there will be no demand and places like Pirates for Parties will have no reason to continue breeding chimps. You can use the following sample letter to send to Ticket Clinic at email@example.com and another to Super Home Surplus at firstname.lastname@example.org
I was shocked and disappointed to hear about your commercial that features a young chimpanzee. You should know that chimpanzees used in entertainment are torn away from their mothers as infants, often repeatedly beaten during training, and then discarded when they become too strong to be managed.
Using a chimpanzee for a cheap laugh sends the message that these amazing beings are simply props. Surely you are aware that chimpanzees are endangered species in critical need of protection? You are exploiting chimpanzees for your own profits and this is an unacceptable business practice.
Join other companies like Great Clips, Dodge, Pfizer, and Capitol One and please make the compassionate decision to remove the chimpanzee from your commercial. I urge you to consider to never exploit great apes for entertainment purposes again. Thank you for your consideration of my comments on this urgent matter.
If you send an email to either The Ticket Clinic or Super Home Surplus, please BCC EyesOnApes@ChimpsNW.org for tracking purposes. Thank you!