IBM defends owl spot

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IBM Corp. stood by a new commercial showing a young girl rescuing an injured owl, saying it produced the spot with input from six or seven wildlife experts including people licensed by the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service to handle birds of prey. As reported Monday, an administrator for that department had begun to investigate the spot, saying the girl appeared to be illegally keeping a protected great horned owl in captivity and that owls are too dangerous to be held by people who haven't had formal training.

An IBM spokesman stressed IBM never intended to show the owl in captivity, noting the bird was shown on a porch where it could fly away when it was well -- as it did at the end of the spot.

"Our experts certainly thought it was a plausible scenario," the spokesman said. "We think it's a nice spot, and it kind of shows how our technology was used to help an animal." In the commercial from Ogilvy & Mather, New York, the girl and her father go on the Web to get information about owls. IBM intends to keep the spot in its planned rotation.

Copyright January 1997, Crain Communications Inc.

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