Zoo wants block chimps in TV ads

2012-02-01 09:00
This video grab shows the executive chimpanzee advertisement that will air during Super Bowl XLVI Sunday. (CareerBuilders.com, AP)

This video grab shows the executive chimpanzee advertisement that will air during Super Bowl XLVI Sunday. (CareerBuilders.com, AP)

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

Chicago - A Chicago zoo is mounting a campaign to stop a company from airing a Super Bowl Sunday commercial featuring mischievous suit-and-tie wearing chimpanzees playing tricks on their human co-worker, saying all that monkey business proves deadly for the endangered species.

Lincoln Park Zoo officials fear images of the frolicking chimps broadcast worldwide do little to help conservation efforts, inaccurately portraying the animals as unthreatened and even as cuddly and harmless pets.

"If people see them that way they are less likely to try and conserve them," Dr Steve Ross, assistant director of the zoo's Fisher Centre for the Study and Conservation of Apes, said of the commercial that shows chimps laughing at a "Kick Me" sign on the human.

"Individual chimps are being harmed and wild populations are being harmed by this frivolous use of an endangered species."

Ross said he and other animal welfare advocates have been complaining to CareerBuilder.com ever since the company started using chimps in Super Bowl commercials in 2005.

Harm

But this year is different because he's armed with a Duke University study that he says supports his long-time claims: Commercialised chimps dressed as people - even when running up big banana daiquiri bar tabs - makes viewers less concerned about the plight of wild chimps.

"The argument they [CareerBuilder.com] make is it doesn't matter how they're portrayed, they are helping to protect them," said Dr Brian Hare, an assistant professor of evolutionary anthropology who led the study.

"The opposite is true. These commercials are negatively affecting people's decisions about how they support conservation."

CareerBuilder.com declined to comment on the study or any suggestion that the commercials put wild chimpanzees in danger.

But in a prepared statement, the Chicago-based company said the "chimpanzee stars" were not harmed and that the American Humane Society watched the commercial being filmed to ensure the animals were "treated with respect".

Hare is particularly concerned about how a Super Bowl commercial - shown around the world - will persuade people in Africa, some desperately poor, to capture and sell the animals.

"This advertisement teaches them there is a market for these animals, that there are some crazy people in America and Europe who would want them as pets," he said. "Even if there isn't a market, they think there's a market."

Publicity

And that, he said, could devastate the wild population of chimpanzees that has already dwindled from more than one million to about 100 000.

Further, he and Ross said the message that chimps make good pets is a dangerous one, as was demonstrated in 2009 when a chimpanzee attacked a Connecticut woman, ripping off her nose, lips, eyelids and hands before being shot dead by police.

Ross said he's not optimistic that CareerBuilder.com will pull the ad before this year's Super Bowl. "They already paid for this one," he said, adding that the company has never responded to any of the letters he's written them since 2005.

In fact, in an effort to drum up publicity about the ad, the company sent another e-mail to The Associated Press trumpeting the upcoming commercial starring "CareerBuilder's beloved chimpanzees" that was back by "popular demand".

In that e-mail, the company pointed to statistics that showed CareerBuilder.com business surged after previous Super Bowls and that its brand awareness also has grown dramatically.

But, Ross said in an e-mail, maybe his concerns will find an audience of its own that the response from "a wider segment of the public... is negative enough for [CareerBuilder.com] not to invest more money in extending the campaign with new ads".

Ross and Hare are encouraged by another conclusion of the Duke study: The commercials may not be all that effective.

Low scoring

Contrary to Careerbuilder.com's suggestion that the commercials helped their business, Hare said people who watched the commercials reported that they found commercials with chimpanzees less interesting than those that featured athletes, music and other things.

That is not surprising to Peter Dabol, chief executive of Ace Metrix, a firm that rates the effectiveness of ads.

"These kinds of slapsticky, kind of funny ads and these ads in particular, were relatively low scoring ads even though their likeability is high," he said.

"These [CareerBuilder.com] ads performed at the bottom of the pack of all Super Bowl ads," he said. "That's typical of what we see as pure humour, cheap laugh ads."
- AP
Read more on:    animals
NEXT ON NEWS24X
SHARE:

Read News24’s Comments Policy

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
4 comments
Add your comment
Comment 0 characters remaining
 

Inside News24

 
/Sport
 

BMW drift battle: M235i vs. speedway bike

Watch this insane drift contest with four-times dirt-track World champion Karl Maier riding a speedway bike against a BMW M235i.

 
 

Men24.com

Want to start talking dirty?
Everyday struggles of naturally skinny guys
And this year's Miss Bumbum title goes to...
How to maintain your mo, bro

Jobs in Cape Town [change area]

Property [change area]

Travel - Look, Book, Go!

Magical Massinga

Spend 5 nights at the gorgeous Massinga Beach Lodge in Mozambique and only pay for 4 from R13 220 per person sharing. Includes return flights, accommodation, transfers and romantic turndown. Book now!

Kalahari.com - shop online today

20% off ALL TV Series

Choose from 1000’s of the hottest TV Series . While stocks last. Shop now!

Festive gifts!

Check out our awesome range of festive gifts to make everyone’s wishes come true. Shop now!

Seen something you like in our catalogue?

Find the perfect gift and save up to R5000 – As seen on the catalogue. Hurry and shop now!

Save up to R2200 on electronics! – As seen in the catalogue

Wishing for tech gadgets this festive? Save up to R2100 on hot tech products at kalahari.com. While stocks last. Shop now!

Up to 35% off books

Save up to 35% on the latest page-turners. While stocks last. Shop now!

OLX Free Classifieds [change area]

Samsung Galaxy s4

Mobile, Cell Phones in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 24

Best bargain in big bay

Real Estate, Houses - Apartments for Sale in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

VW Golf 6, 1.6 Trendline (Excellent condition)

Vehicles, Cars in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

Horoscopes
Aquarius
Aquarius

There is a strong focus on social interaction and connecting with your friends. You may have the need to expand and connect with a...read more

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.








Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.