Long story short, two ethical issues (at least) are raised by the use of chimps and other apes in advertising. First, they are often stolen from their mothers when they're extremely young, which leads to developmental problems. Second, because they are wild and very strong, apes can work only for a few years. After that , a lucky few can be sent to outdoor refuges, while the rest -- who knows? Last year we wrote a story looking at the decreasing use of apes in ads. We even went so far as to write an editorial calling for a stop to all such advertising. Not that Ad Age took a lead on this issue. Animal-rights groups have been requesting this for years. And for PETA's Great Ape Pledge, BBDO created an auto-correct program on all its computers to remind creatives and others not to use these animals in videos and films.
But CareerBuilder stuck with the chimps last year and is doing so again this year (both ads created in-house). Why? The short answer is that apes are funny. They are. (Indeed, we ran a poll last year asking for readers' favorite ape-related Super Bowl spot.)
The longer answer, as CareerBuilder told Forbes:
"The chimpanzees were brought back by popular demand. It's been a very successful campaign that job-seekers identify with and act upon. ... CareerBuilder supports the fair and humane treatment of all animals. During the production of our ad, we followed the strictest guidelines to ensure our chimpanzee stars were treated well and not harmed in any way. We hired top trainers known to provide the highest standard of care for their animals. We also had a member of an animal-rights group, the American Humane Association, on set during the entire filming to ensure the chimpanzees were treated with respect. This was very important to us."
In other words, "Consumers like apes, and we didn't harm the chimps."
Here's the ad in question:
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