Chimpanzees in Commercials

It has come to my attention that Chicago-based company CareerBuilder will again use chimpanzees in advertisements during the SuperBowl this year. Just like last year, I am upset by this news and disappointed with those who have chosen to use chimpanzees—dressed like humans—for comedic effect.

Several recent scientific studies published in notable, peer-reviewed journals including Science and PLoS One demonstrate a direct correlation between people viewing chimpanzees in commercials, such as CareerBuilder’s, and their conservation actions and attitudes after viewing. A pattern is clear—people who view chimpanzees in human settings are less inclined to think the species is endangered and less inclined to support conservation efforts to save them. Unfortunately, the fact is that chimpanzees are in rapid decline and experts fear they may be extinct within the next 50 years if significant conservation action isn’t taken.
 
Using chimpanzees in entertainment is also rife with welfare concerns. As our assistant director of the Lester E. Fisher Center for the Study and Conservation of Apes, Steve Ross, Ph.D., explains, these animals are often taken from their mothers at a young age, which can result in tremendous emotional and psychological distress. The “acting” careers of chimpanzees are typically only a few short years, after which they become too large, strong and unmanageable. Because chimps can live 60 years, those deemed no longer useful to the media may end up in suboptimal housing for the next several decades.
 
“These are endangered species we’re talking about,” adds Ross. “CareerBuilder is well aware that their commercials are contributing to negative outcomes for this species and yet they continue this damaging and archaic practice. It’s very disappointing.”
 
So what can you do? Educate yourself, learn ways to take action by visiting ChimpCARE, and if you have a youngster, download the free iPad children’s book, “Chimps Should Be Chimps,” which helps the next generation better understand what chimps need so that they can make our world a better place for wildlife. Keep your eye out for media coverage of these commercials, which might spur change. And lastly, express your feelings in the comment section below this post. I'd love to hear your thoughts.
 
Here’s hoping that public reaction to CareerBuilder’s commercials is vocal and negative. I will keep you posted.
 
Sincerely,
Kevin Bell

Comments

chimpanzees in commercials

I agree with you completely. Consider sending the comments to the advertisers and to those in charge of the Super Bowl. They need to know that not all people consider this entertainment.

CareerBuilder use of Chimps

Per Wikipedia CareerBuilder is partially owned by the Tribune Company which also owns the Chicago Tribune newspaper. Possibly if enough people flood the newspaper with letters or e-mails to the editor, some pressure could be brought on CareerBuilder by their owner.

Chimpanzees in commercials

I guess it depends on how one looks at this, now that we have your view. I like going to the Zoo seeing the animals, flowers etc. In reality the animals belong in the wild not a Zoo and I’m not sure if you are working as volunteer or you receive payment for your involvement. If you are being paid, are you not doing the same thing displaying caged animals and I’m just as guilty for paying to see them.

regards

Mark

Careeer Builder Chimpanzee ads

Our business is to measure the creative effectiveness of every TV commercial. Our data shows, that in addition to ethical concerns, these ads are just not effective. Slaptick advertising does not appeal to everyone, and the Career Builder ad landed in bottom quintile based on Ace Score over the past years featuring the Chimps. It is one case where both business and conservation interests are in alignment.

career builder chimp ad

are you serious?? you're afraid of how they will be portrayed? have you no sense of humor? we might as well start protesting movies and tv shows for how animals are portrayed in those.

what!?!?!?

You people seriously need to get a life!!!! You're all crazy and I think people should boycott your zoo!!!! What a bunch of nutjobs, or are you just out for free advertisement for your zoo.

Are you a nut?!

Maybe we could force you in to being in ads? Oh wait you are obviously way too stupid. It is human animals like you that prove humans are the most brutal animals on the planet. At least I see some hope for us when I see what the Lincoln park zoo and others who have a heart are doing.

Chimpanzee ads

Petitions abound over this issue and I have signed every single one of them. It is great to see an organization as large and well known as the Lincoln Park Zoo (with a stellar reputation) stand up for animals that have been mistreated, experimented on, some living lives of hell for 30 and 40 years as well as being commerically exploited. What is so funny about seeing these intelligent, sensitive creatures dressed up as us??????????
Hey, Career Builder...anything for a buck, huh?

There is another issue concerning the ads for the Super Bowl....the further exploitation of Gray Hounds. This must be stopped, animals are not here for our amusement!

Career Builder Chimpanzee Adds

Let me first state that I have nothing to do with the Career Builder institute. I just wanted to air out my feelings on this article. It is obvious to me Mr. Bell that you have way too much time on your hands. The same goes for those who did those studies. The studies were probably funded by tax payer monies and were promoted by some wacko liberal politician. Your view and the view of these studies is that the public is nothing but an easily swayed bunch of dupes that have no mind of their own. These adds do nothing of the sort. They promote the view that chimpanzees are adorable creatures worthy of human attention. They produce a smile on everyones faces. How different is that from viewing them behind an enclosure in a zoo? Please get to the business of whatever it is zoo presidents do, and leave your opinions about the public to yourself. This is nothing more than another so called "liberal do-gooder's" attempt to impose their warped belief on everyone else. I look forward to the commercial and pray they don't give you the time of day.

Please give some references

Please give some references to support this: "A pattern is clear—people who view chimpanzees in human settings are less inclined to think the species is endangered and less inclined to support conservation efforts to save them."
 
Ross, SR, Vreeman, VM, Lonsdorf, EV. 2011. Specific Image Characteristics Influence Attitudes about Chimpanzee Conservation and Use as Pets. PLoS ONE 6(7): e22050. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0022050.

Reference to support quote

Reference to support quote: 

Ross, SR, Vreeman, VM, Lonsdorf, EV. 2011. Specific Image Characteristics Influence Attitudes about Chimpanzee Conservation and Use as Pets. PLoS ONE 6(7): e22050. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0022050.

i agree it, “These are

i agree it, “These are endangered species we’re talking about,” adds Ross. “CareerBuilder is well aware that their commercials are contributing to negative outcomes for this species and yet they continue this damaging and archaic practice. It’s very disappointing.”

Bravo to Lincoln Park Zoo

As a zoo lover and a former Chicagoan, I couldn't be prouder of Lincoln Park Zoo's leadership on the effort to get CareerBuilder to stop the use of live chimpanzees in their ads. My dad was a chimp trainer back in the (ancient!) days when the Detroit Zoo had a chimp show, and I know first hand of the trauma inflicted on chimpanzees in show business. That a zoo now leads the effort to stop the use of chimpanzees in infantile "entertainment" (that ended in the 1980s at accredited zoos, thank goodness) is yet another indication of the strong conservation ethics now in the forefront of zoological management.

Thank you Kevin Bell and Steve Ross, and all of the zookeepers and researchers who help primates - including both humans and chimpanzees. Your work is important to all of us.

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