A Grand Donation for Great Apes (Jan 2012)
PRECO Charity Provides For Primate Care (Dec 2011)Saving The Great Apes (May 2011)We Feed the CareerBuilder Chimpanzees (Feb 2011)
For CareerBuilder Chimps, Sadly, the Joke Is On Them (Feb 2011)
How 'Chimpus Commercialus' Went From Ad Star to Endangered Species (Feb 2011)
Super Bowl commercials: What happens to those CareerBuilder chimps? (Feb 2011)
Memo to Adland: Enough With the Monkey Business (Feb 2011)
Mistreatment of Chimpanzees Is No Joke (Feb 2011)
What Happens to CareerBuilder's Ape 'Actors'? (Feb 2011)
A Grand Donation for Great Apes
By Derrill Holly | ECT Staff Writer
Electric Co-op Today
Published: January 3rd, 2012
A Florida co-op’s commitment to energy efficiency is extending beyond people to primates.
Peace River Electric Cooperative has made a major donation to help improve a retirement facility for great apes that spent their early lives as performers or exotic pets.
Mark Sellers, communications coordinator for the Wauchula-based co-op, said its charitable foundation’s advisory board approved a matching grant of up to $15,000 to the Center for Great Apes.
“The money will be used to help upgrade windows in a dozen ape houses, so this is an energy-efficiency project.”
The houses are used primarily at night and provide shelter from cold winter air. They are also capable of withstanding hurricane force winds that sometimes threaten the co-op’s service territory.
PRECO serves the 100-acre center, which also is located in Wauchula.It is home to 13 orangutans and 31 chimpanzees.
Besides providing 14 spacious, secure enclosures, it also includes a mile of elevated chutes, enabling the apes to roam around the forested grounds. There is also a special needs facilities for older primates.
“Chimpanzees and orangutans used for entertainment in the circus, movies and commercials only are ‘worked’ while they are infants and juveniles,” said Patti Ragan, founder and sanctuary director of the center. “But they have a life span of over 50 years.”
Many of the 44 apes living at the facility might otherwise face years in research labs, roadside menageries or backyard breeding programs, Ragan said. “Accredited zoos do not accept people-raised great apes because of their more human-like behavior.”
Donations to the charitable fund come from more than 29,000 of PRECO’s members,” said Nell McCauley, the co-op’s chief marketing and member services officer.
“The foundation’s board is made up of co-op consumer-members who volunteer to serve, so we’re glad they decided to help this important local conservation program.”
PRECO Charity Provides For Primate Care
Wednesday, December 14, 2011
Wauchula, Fla. — Through a grant by Operation Round Up Charitable Foundation, the Center For Great Apes (CGA), Wauchula, FL, will provide better living conditions for its primate residents. CGA is a permanent sanctuary for orangutans and chimpanzees that have been retired from the entertainment industry, research or are simply no longer wanted as pets. These animals are provided with a home in a natural setting, where they can live out their days with their own kind.
The grant provides up to $15,000 in matching funds toward CGA’s project to retrofit 12 “ape houses” with weatherproof, self-sealing window enclosures. These houses, primarily used by the animals at night, have aging windows and frames which are warped and no longer have the ability to keep out cold winter air. The new windows are unbreakable, highly energy efficient and will not warp.
Operation Round Up, the charitable arm of Peace River Electric Cooperative, headquartered in Wauchula, considers grants for individuals and organizations in the areas of food, shelter, medical needs, clothing and the environment. The program is funded by more than 29,000 of the cooperative’s members who voluntarily have their power bills ‘rounded up’ to the next dollar.
CGA operates solely on support from memberships, private donors and animal welfare grants. To learn more about Operation Round Up or to download an application, visit Peace River Electric Cooperative’s website www.preco.coop.
Center For Great Apes founder Patti Ragan (center) accepts grant check from Operation Round Up directors Pat Gugle and Lois Valley.
Peace River Electric Cooperative (PRECO), a Touchstone Energy® distribution electric cooperative headquartered in Wauchula, Florida, provides electric service and energy solutions to nearly 35,000 member/consumers in 10 Florida counties in central Florida: Brevard, DeSoto, Hardee, Highlands, Hillsborough, Indian River, Manatee, Osceola, Polk and Sarasota Counties. Through almost 4,000 miles of power lines, the electric cooperative has been in business since 1940 as a member-owned, not-for-profit organization.
Saving The Great Apes
ORLANDO, Fla. (Ivanhoe Newswire) --The great apes are our closest genetic relatives. We share 97 percent of our DNA. But we’re also the biggest threat to their survival. Unless we act now, apes could become extinct within decades. Behind each great ape is a story. The woman behind them all is Patti Ragan.
“We’re here to provide long-term life care with dignity and enrichment for these animals that are so intelligent that need a secure strong safe place.” Patti Ragan, founder of the Center For Great Apes told Ivanhoe.
Patti runs the Center For Great Apes. The sanctuary is home to our closest genetic relatives: orangutans and chimpanzees.
“Chimpanzees are very expressive, sometimes somebody bumps into somebody and there’s a flare-up over it and you touched me, oh! And then they make up immediately,” Ragan said.
Orangutans or “man of the forest” are the largest tree dwelling mammals in the world.
“These guys are much calmer, more laid back, they are more Zen. But if there is a problem between them they won’t make up as quickly as chimps do. They’ll hold a grudge for days against somebody,” Ragan explained.
The 45 chimps and orangutans at the center were all either used in the entertainment business, or were kept as pets until they got too big and strong for their owners.
“These babies that we see on television or in movies or in live acts at tourist attractions, by the time they are 9 or 10 they are done, but they live 50-60 years,” Ragan said.
Then there’s Mari. Mari was born in a research lab. She learned to walk on her hind legs after her mother bit her arms off.
“Her mother was very, very young, too young to have a baby. So at only 12 weeks old, Mari had no arms at all,” Ragan explained.
Folks like Pete O’Neill help take care of them now.
“We spend time with them, we do training with them, all kinds of things, when they come from bad pasts, we have to rehabilitate them, teach them how to learn with their own kind or live with their own kind,” Pete O’Neill, an animal caregiver at Center for Great Apes told Ivanhoe.
While these animals have a safe haven, in the wild habitat loss threatens their existence. So do poachers that kill the animals for their meat or slaughter mothers so they can take their babies for the pet trade.
“It’s a horrific situation,” Ragan said.
“People really need to stop thinking of it as out of sight, out of mind, and really starting taking note of how important it is to save these species,” O’Neill added.
The numbers have dwindled to 150,000. The situation is even bleaker for orangutans --only numbering 50,000. So what can you do? Donate to organizations that protect these species and watch what you buy. Millions of acres of rainforest have been destroyed to make way for palm oil plantations. Palm oil can be found in everything from cookies and crackers to cosmetics and lotions.
“When you see it, let the companies know that you’re not going to buy their product anymore because they have palm oil and it’s killing not only orangutans, tigers in the rainforest of Sumatra, elephants, all kinds of wildlife,” Ragan concluded.
By choosing what to buy and what not to buy, we have the power to help save species. That’s a choice our closest cousins don’t get to make. Wildlife experts estimate chimpanzees could be extinct within 50 years. Orangutans may only have a decade left. The cost to care for one of these apes at the center for great apes runs $17,000 a year; care is funded totally by donations.
We Feed the CareerBuilder Chimpanzees
As CareerBuilder has released their newest advertisement this week at the Super Bowl, many people (and several animal welfare groups) concerned about the use and exploitation of chimpanzees for TV commercials have written, signed petitions, and voiced their opposition to the company.
The Center for Great Apes has a special interest in this situation. The chimpanzee youngsters (Ellie, Mowgli, Bella, and baby Kodua) used in their first round of comic commercials shown during the 2005 Super Bowl, Emmy Awards, and Academy Awards were retired from acting and are all here now at the Center as rescued primates needing sanctuary care for the rest of their lives – some 40 years or more.
Chimpanzees used in commercials are mostly infants and juveniles who were taken away from their mothers (a traumatic act for mother and infant) so they can be trained to perform for entertainment and advertising. This changes their futures forever. Since they usually only have a working “shelf life” of about 6 to 8 years (while still juveniles), they rarely can be handled and worked as adolescents and adults, so most often end up discarded out of show business. Accredited zoos won’t usually accept performing or human-raised chimpanzees because they are difficult to mix with the zoos’ more naturally behaving groups. Many of these former “stars” end up in roadside zoos, backyard cages, or breeder compounds. Those lucky enough to end up in an established sanctuary have to be supported by donations for the rest of their lives from people who don’t know them, but care about them.
The public is more aware today than six years ago of what the cost is to these intelligent great apes used as pets and entertainers (simply to make us laugh or pitch sales for a company). Today, at least fifteen advertising agencies1… including ten of the top fifteen agencies in the world and the top three agencies in this country (McCann Erickson, BBDO, and Young & Rubicam) have pledged not to use great apes in commercials and advertisements any longer. And the list is growing.
CareerBuilder has said in a press release that their business has not been as good as when they used chimpanzees for their ads. Richard Castellini, the Chief Marketing Officer for CareerBuilder said people ask “when are the monkeys coming back?” Chimpanzees are not monkeys (they are great apes) as the ad would have the public believe. This creates an image that is inaccurate and uneducated. Chimpanzees are highly intelligent, gifted, in fact. The premise of the television commercial is a hapless drone whose co-workers are chimpanzees, thus likening a bad job to working with idiots. Characterizing chimpanzees as idiots is simply incorrect.
The misinformation and calling chimpanzees “monkeys” is bad enough, but do they realize that to promote their business they are actually affecting the situation for chimpanzees in the wild?
Studies and surveys have shown that when the public sees chimpanzees dressed up and acting in movies, TV shows, and advertisements, they don’t really perceive that these great apes are “endangered” in the wild in Africa.
“Depictions of chimpanzees as caricatures can lead people to think these animals are not endangered, and this is a problem for conservation and welfare efforts.” 2
And if the public doesn’t see them as needing help (and on the brink of extinction, which they are), then they are less likely to send donations to groups working to save them…or to take steps to protect them.
Castellini also said in a press release that they “thought this was good timing to bring the chimpanzees out of retirement”. Well, the chimpanzees won’t be coming out of retirement! The original CareerBuilder chimpanzees from the first series of ads in the CareerBuilder campaign are now adolescents and too big and dangerous to work around people. So, they most likely have had to find a new generation of youngsters pulled again from mothers and trained to perform in these ads.
CareerBuilder’s Facebook page says that the chimpanzees were treated well in the making of the commercials. Good…but that’s not the only issue! The fact that actor chimpanzees have a short working life as juveniles but a very long adult life where they will need safe and enriching care for decades as well as the fact that portrayals of chimpanzees in this manner affects the overall efforts to protect chimpanzees in the wild should be of concern to everyone (not just “animal advocates”).
Caring for these retired chimpanzees doesn’t come cheaply and doesn’t come free. Even if corporations like CareerBuilder make a donation during the filming of commercials to help with the future care of the chimpanzees they use, it in no way covers what their future costs will actually be. Seven North American sanctuaries for retired entertainment, pet, and research chimpanzees today all find the costs of care range between $14,000 - $19,000 a year for each ape. When the first four chimpanzees were used in the 2005 ads, they were 2 years (Kodua), 4 years (Mowgli), 6 years (Bella), and 7 years old (Ellie). Since they could all live to the age of 50 or more, you can do the math and see that it could take millions of dollars to provide care for the actors that sold CareerBuilder to the public.
In this day and age, CGI (computer graphic imaging) is an amazing way to tell a story and show comic antics without affecting the lives of these baby chimpanzees used as actors.
Our message to CareerBuilder: Please join with the responsible corporations and advertising agencies who can find ways to pitch products and services without exploiting great apes. Please use your talent, wealth, and success to produce entertaining commercials that don’t have such a sad impact on chimpanzees.
Wouldn’t it be wonderful if the company chose to donate the millions of dollars they pay for TV Super Bowl advertising time to wildlife protection projects in Africa that are struggling so desperately to save chimpanzees in the wild? Or, they could even provide a real retirement fund for the first four chimpanzees that made them so famous. Now, that would bring goodwill and make me want to call CareerBuilder for services!
Patti Ragan, Founder
Center for Great Apes
1 McCann Worldgroup, Young & Rubicam, BBDO, JWT, Grey Group, Ogilvy & Mather, Saatchi & Saatchi, Leo Burnett, Euro RSCG, Draftfcb, Arnold, GSD&M Idea City, Merkley & Partners, GlobalHue, R&R Partners, Dailey, Sanders\Wingo
2 “Inappropriate Use and Portrayal of Chimpanzees”
S. R. Ross, K. E. Lukas, E. V. Lonsdorf, T. S. Stoinski, B. Hare, R. Shumaker, J. Goodall
www.sciencemag.org SCIENCE VOL 319 14 MARCH 2008
For CareerBuilder Chimps, Sadly, the Joke Is On Them
The Huffington Post
February 12, 2011
By Brenda Scott Royce
AdAge has joined the growing cry to halt the use of great apes in advertising, editorializing that despite their comic potential, "It's time to stop using them for the sake of selling product." (Memo to Adland: Enough with the Monkey Business).
The AdAge announcement came on the heels of CareerBuilder's decision to resurrect its practice of using apes to hype its job-seeking services. Debuting during the SuperBowl, CareerBuilder's latest spot features young chimps dressed in business suits and driving cars -- badly, of course.
The original CareerBuilder chimps -- Mowgli, Ellie, Bella, and Kodua -- were retired from show business in 2005 and now live with more than 40 other apes (mostly show biz veterans and former pets) at the Center for Great Apes in Wauchula, Florida, whose most famous resident is Michael Jackson's former friend, Bubbles.
The use of chimps and other nonhuman primates in TV commercials is nothing new, and these spots generally generate some cheap laughs. But according to Patti Ragan, the Center's founder, there's nothing cheap about 'em.
In her article, "We Feed the CareerBuilder Chimps," Ragan points out that the annual cost to care for a great ape ranges from $14,000 to $19,000. With a working "shelf life" of only six to eight years (they become unmanageable once puberty hits) and most captive chimps living into their 40s and 50s, that's a lot of moolah. Who picks up the tab? You can bet it's not the corporations who put them to work in the first place.
As I wrote here in 2009:
"While everyone involved with a commercial -- from the network and ad agency to the actors, caterers, and animal trainers -- makes money, nothing is put aside for the animals' future. No residual checks are wending their way to Wauchula for the former stars of the CareerBuilder ads."
According to Ragan, accredited zoos rarely accept these former 'actors' due difficulty introducing them to more normal behaving zoo groups of chimpanzees (taken from their mothers in infancy and raised on movie sets, it's not surprising these chimpsters are difficult to socialize). She writes, "Many of these former 'stars' end up in roadside zoos, backyard cages, or breeder compounds. Those lucky enough to end up in an established sanctuary have to be supported by donations for the rest of their lives from people who don't know them, but care about them."
Compounding the controversy is the fact that these ads, whether funny or not, give viewers wildly distorted images of our closest nonhuman relatives, chimpanzees. Chimps are endangered, and while viewing a nature film or seeing a chimp in a zoo can inspire compassion and spur people to take conservation action, the CareerBuilder-style buffoonery is not only uninspired, it can be downright harmful to the cause. Ragan says, "Published research shows that when the public sees apes dressed up and acting in movies and advertisements, they don't perceive that these great apes are 'endangered' in the wild and therefore are less likely to send donations to groups working to save them."
The good news is that ten of the world's top fifteen ad agencies (including giants McCann Erickson, BBDO, and Young & Rubicam) have pledged to not use great apes in commercials and advertisements in the future. So why the giant step backward for CareerBuilder? And where will its new generation of acting apes end up when the cameras stop rolling?
How 'Chimpus Commercialus' Went From Ad Star to Endangered Species
February 6, 2011
Pressure From Animal-Rights Groups Has Agencies Pledging Not to Use Great Apes for Ad Entertainment
By Brian Steinberg
NEW YORK (AdAge.com) -- They were once stars. After a rough start in life -- taken from their mothers during infancy -- they found themselves on the national stage, making millions laugh during the Super Bowl. Their careers were short, two or three years at most, and now they've been shunted aside. But they're the lucky ones. Sent to finish out their lives in Florida, the four chimpanzees from the original CareerBuilder Super Bowl ads share a home with Michael Jackson's former pet, Bubbles, at the Center for Great Apes in Wauchula. They could have ended up in cages in roadside attractions, or on the nightly news, put down after going on a rampage.
Before this year's Super Bowl, it had likely been years since most Americans had seen a national TV spot featuring an ape. That's because chimpus commercialus and its kin, thanks to pressure put on marketers and ad agencies by animal-rights groups, are on the verge of extinction.
But there are still reminders. After moving away from the use of chimpanzees in its Big Game commercials, CareerBuilder has sparked a minor controversy by reviving interest in the animals that have long been a staple of big-budget TV advertising. CareerBuilder ads in last night's game returned to the theme from the company's memorable efforts in 2005 and 2006: chimpanzees as obstinate, time-wasting cubicle-mates who demonstrate the need for CareerBuilder's online job listings.
Last night's spot could mark the last for this close relative of the monkey that has ridden on Madison Avenue's back for decades.
Eighteen different ad agencies have agreed in the last few years to stop using great apes in the commercials they produce, the result of an ongoing effort started in 2008 by People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals.
Among the big firms involved are Omnicom Group's BBDO, GSD&M and Merkley & Partners; Interpublic Group of Cos.' McCann Erickson, DraftFCB and RPA; Havas' Arnold and Euro RSCG; WPP's Grey Group, Ogilvy & Mather, Young & Rubicam and JWT; and Publicis Groupe's Saatchi & Saatchi and Leo Burnett.
"The list is only going to grow," said Julia Galluci, a primatologist with PETA who studies the use of apes in commercials.
Indeed, Omnicom's DDB and TBWA/Chiat/Day, two agencies that work for marketers that have made memorable ads with chimps in the past -- Anheuser-Busch InBev and PepsiCo -- are not yet on the list.
PETA also successfully lobbied several major advertisers to modify or pull ads in 2010 when apes were featured. Pfizer edited out an orangutan used in a commercial crafted by Grey Group for its Robitussin, and decided instead to incorporate a digital image of a chimp. Dodge, AT&T and Travelers Insurance made similar moves after PETA's approach.
For its part, CareerBuilder, which created its ad in-house, said it has treated the animals involved in this year's Super Bowl plans well. "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," the company said in a statement. "This was very important to us."
But it's not the treatment of the animals on set that is the main concern from animal-rights groups. Rather, it's the procurement and disposal of apes for acting.
Apes in the wild stay with their mothers for nearly the first decade of life, and typically nurse for the first five or six years, said Patti Ragan, founder and director of the Center for Great Apes, the private sanctuary that hosts those four CareerBuilder chimps as well as Bubbles. But to work on an ad, movie or TV program, a chimp or orangutan needs to be under the age of 8. When they pass that age, she said, "they are too dangerous and strong to work around humans" and are therefore retired. Caring for the animals after they can no longer work on shoots can require something in the neighborhood of $20,000 a year, she estimated.
Heartstring-plucking details such as these are likely not immediately clear to the consumers who thrill to monkeyshines in TV pitches. And even those who protect the chimps admit that there has been no consumer outrage. If it did, the animals wouldn't show up year after year in the Super Bowl, the nation's broadest advertising showcase.
Great apes have appeared in 10 different ads tailored for the Big Game since 2000, according to research from students of Chuck Tomkovick, a professor of marketing at University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire, who has studied Super Bowl ads for years. There's good reason: Mr. Tomkovick's recent research suggests that placing any sort of an animal in an ad increases its likability.
The ad industry's eagerness to distance itself from chimps and their cousins comes even though capturing consumer attention with TV ads has become increasingly difficult. And it arrives despite the fact consumers are more likely to stop and notice chimps and apes when spotted on the TV screen. Chimps and apes have particular appeal, said Barbara J. King, an anthropology professor at the College of William and Mary, who has studied apes and monkeys in the wild and in U.S. zoos for 30 years.
"They are like us, but they're not like us," she said. "It's exactly that strange paradox that grabs people."
Further, when it comes to convincing consumers that apes need protecting, there is a perception problem. "It looks to me like these commercials are making these animals seem cute and perfectly well-cared for," said Ms. King, the anthropology professor. "It's not clear to me from the surface of it why consumers would necessarily be concerned unless someone tells them the back story."
And PETA has been relaying that story to ad-agency executives to some effect. "The cruelty of separating baby apes from their mothers, the brutal training, and the tragic 'retirement' provide a real incentive not to use them," said Andrew Robertson, president-CEO of BBDO Worldwide.
"They are cute. They behave like humans. They are cuddly," said Tony Granger, global chief creative officer at Young & Rubicam. "But what really does it for me is understanding that the apes are taken away from their mothers. We honestly didn't know any of this."
PETA expects to press its case, Ms. Galluci said. The organization is in early talks with BBDO to create an ad campaign aimed at ad-industry employees and make them aware of the problems with using live apes in ad shoots. "It's the agencies that are writing the stories, writing the scripts for these ads," she said. Once agency executives hear the details about the simians, she added, "they are really quick to agree" not to use them any longer. Whether the entire industry apes the move remains to be seen.
Super Bowl commercials: What happens to those CareerBuilder chimps?
The Christian Science Monitor
February 7, 2011
They're not monkeys. They're chimpanzees with short working lives in entertainment, after which they can't be returned to zoos or the wild. Lucky ones end up in sanctuaries, needing care for the next 40 years. Major ad agencies have pledged not to use great apes. Why won't CareerBuilder?
By Patti Ragan
WAUCHULA, FL. CareerBuilder released their newest advertisement this weekend during the Super Bowl – a parking lot scene with a frustrated employee surrounded by bumbling colleagues (played by chimpanzees). Like many Super Bowl commercials, the 30-second spot has generated plenty of post-game buzz rating its cleverness, humor, and impact. But this ad has also brought on plenty of outrage, and rightly so.
Even before the commercial aired, thousands of people (and several animal welfare groups) concerned about the use and exploitation of chimpanzees for TV commercials wrote and signed petitions and voiced their opposition to the company.
I have a special interest in this situation. The chimpanzee youngsters (Ellie, Mowgli, Bella, and Koda) used in CareerBuilder’s first round of comic commercials shown during the 2005 Super Bowl, Emmy Awards, and Academy Awards were retired from acting and are all here now at the Center for Great Apes, as rescued primates needing sanctuary care for the rest of their lives – some 40 years or more.
What happens after short working life?
Chimpanzees used in commercials are mostly infants and juveniles who were taken away from their mothers (a traumatic act for mother and infant) so they can be trained to perform for entertainment and advertising. This changes their futures forever. Since they usually only have a working “shelf life” of about 6 to 8 years (while still juveniles), they rarely can be handled and worked as adolescents and adults, and most often end up discarded out of show business.
Accredited zoos won’t usually accept performing or human-raised chimpanzees because they are difficult to mix with the zoos’ more naturally behaving groups. Many of these former “stars” end up in roadside zoos, backyard cages, or breeder compounds. Those lucky enough to end up in an established sanctuary have to be supported for the rest of their lives by donations from people who don’t know them, but care about them.
The public is more aware today than six years ago of what the cost is to these intelligent great apes used as pets and entertainers (simply to make us laugh or pitch sales for a company). Today, at least 15 advertising agencies, including ten of the top 15 agencies in the world, and the top three agencies in this country (McCann Erickson, BBDO, and Young & Rubicam) have pledged not to use great apes in commercials and advertisements any longer. And the list is growing.
Portraying chimpanzees as silly hurts wild population
CareerBuilder has said in a press release that its business has not been as good as when they used chimpanzees for their ads. Richard Castellini, the Chief Marketing Officer for CareerBuilder, said people ask, “When are the monkeys coming back?” Chimpanzees are not monkeys (they are great apes), as the ad would have the public believe. CareerBuilder has created an image that is inaccurate and uneducated. Chimpanzees are highly intelligent – gifted, in fact. The premise of the television commercial is a hapless drone whose co-workers are chimpanzees, thus likening a bad job to working with idiots. Characterizing chimpanzees as idiots is simply incorrect.
CareerBuilder’s misinformation and equating chimpanzees with “monkeys” is bad enough, but disseminating such an image actually has a real and devastating impact on the chimpanzee population. Does the company realize that promoting its business is negatively affecting the status of chimpanzees in the wild?
Studies and surveys have shown that when the public sees chimpanzees dressed up and acting in movies, TV shows, and advertisements, they don’t really perceive that these great apes are “endangered” in the wild in Africa. A recent article in Science Magazine by primate researchers, including Jane Goodall, affirms: “Depictions of chimpanzees as caricatures can lead people to think these animals are not endangered, and this is a problem for conservation and welfare efforts.”
If the public doesn’t see chimpanzees as needing help (and on the brink of extinction, which they are), then they are less likely to send donations to groups working to save them or to take steps to protect them.
Treated well during filming, but after?
Mr. Castellini also said in a press release that the company “thought this was good timing to bring the chimpanzees out of retirement.” Well, the chimpanzees won’t be coming out of retirement! The original CareerBuilder chimpanzees from the first series of ads in the CareerBuilder campaign are now adolescents and too big and dangerous to work around people. So CareerBuilder probably had to find a new generation of youngsters, pulled again from mothers and trained to perform in these ads.
CareerBuilder’s Facebook page says that the chimpanzees were treated well in the making of the commercials. That’s good, but that’s also not the only issue. How will these chimpanzees – and the entire wild chimpanzee population – be treated afterward? Actor chimpanzees have a short working life as juveniles, but a very long adult life, where they will need safe and enriching care for decades. Consider, too, the fact that portrayals of chimpanzees in this manner (as funny or cute) affect the overall efforts to protect chimpanzees in the wild. Such a situation should be of concern to everyone, not just “animal advocates."
Caring for these retired chimpanzees doesn’t come cheaply. Even if corporations like CareerBuilder make a donation during the filming of commercials to help with the future care of the chimpanzees they use, it in no way covers what the future costs to care for these great apes will actually be. Seven North American sanctuaries for retired entertainment, pet, and research chimpanzees today all find the costs of care range between $14,000 to $19,000 a year for each ape.
When the first four chimpanzees were used in CareerBuilder’s 2005 ads, they were 2 years (Koda), 4 years (Mowgli), 6 years (Bella), and 7 years old (Ellie). Since they could all live to the age of 50 or more, you can do the math and see that it could take millions of dollars to provide care for the actors that sold CareerBuilder to the public.
A better way to pitch products
In this day and age, computer graphic imaging (CGI) is an amazing way to tell a story and show comic antics without affecting the lives of these baby chimpanzees used as actors. C’mon CareerBuilder! Please join with the responsible corporations and advertising agencies that can find ways to pitch products and services without exploiting great apes. Please use your talent, wealth, and success to produce entertaining commercials that don’t have such a sad impact on chimpanzees.
Wouldn’t it be wonderful if the company chose to donate some of the millions of dollars it pays for TV Super Bowl advertising time to wildlife protection projects in Africa that are struggling so desperately to save chimpanzees in the wild? It should at least provide a real retirement fund for the first four chimpanzees that made them so famous.
Now that would make me want to call CareerBuilder for services.
Patti Ragan is the founder of the Center for Great Apes.
Memo to Adland: Enough With the Monkey Business
February 6, 2011
An Ad Age Editorial
Over the past few years, you may have noticed fewer and fewer commercials featuring apes -- chimpanzees, in particular. That's a positive development, but the fact is there should be none.
At the moment, we've seen two spots in circulation: One is an ad for Robitussin featuring a digital chimp in a green scarf, the other is a CareerBuilder Super Bowl spot featuring the real thing.
The first spot should be pulled. Even with digital technology being what it is, the ape looks fake. In fact, it's because of chimps' resemblance to humans that it reminds us of the infamous Orville Redenbacher zombie Crispin resurrected in 2007. And we'd argue the humor inherent in using monkeys and apes is because you're taking a wild animal -- a real one -- and training it to dress and act like a human. You can make a digital thing do anything; the humor loses its comedic impact.
Which brings us to the CareerBuilder spot. Ad Age is a fan of humor and, on the surface, monkey commercials are funny and number among our favorites over the years. We bet the CareerBuilder spot does extremely well with consumers in the USA Today Ad Meter.
But this is a case in which we'll side with the animal-rights activists. It's not just the training of these animals -- CareerBuilder has assured everyone that the chimps used are being treated humanely. For us, the bigger issue comes down to the procurement and retirement of these animals. You've got to get young apes somewhere -- and chances are it isn't a pet store or a zoo that stole an infant from its mother. And, after a couple of years on the ad circuit, apes are left in animal sanctuaries and struggle to survive or, worse, are dumped on people who'll cage them for sideshow attractions.
It's time to stop using them for the sake of selling product.
We're not the only ones to take this position. Ten of the biggest ad agencies in the country have pledged not to work with apes again.
Finally, if marketers don't see this from an ethical standpoint, then perhaps they should see it from a business one. Consider the expense of using these animals and trainers. Consider the expense (and time) required to find a shop that will shoot such campaigns. And, finally, consider the possibility of public backlash as groups such as PETA gain more and more support for their causes in the wider population. The aforementioned Robitussin spot originally included an actual orangutan, which was swapped out due to such pressure. So not only did the marketer spend money to make a spot with an actual primate, it then had to spend again to redo it.
Mistreatment of Chimpanzees Is No Joke
A Human(e) Nation: Wayne Pacelle's Blog
The Humane Society of the United States
February 08, 2011
I was in the Dallas area two Sundays ago — one week before the Super Bowl game at Cowboys Stadium. I was there to take a look at the construction of our new Doris Day Horse Rescue and Adoption Center, an important add-on to the larger animal-care enterprise we operate at the Cleveland Amory Black Beauty Ranch, in Murchison, Texas. As I do whenever I go to Black Beauty, I criss-crossed the ranch pastures to see many of the 1,000 or so animals who live on them. Among the first creatures I see on my visits are three chimpanzees — Kitty, Lulu and Midge, since their home is near the entrance at Black Beauty. They’ve got an expansive outdoor habitat, they receive a healthy diet, and they can enjoy each other’s company. But it’s a world apart from their native habitats in Tanzania or Uganda, and they are far away from their family members and the freedom that life in the wild would bring.
They are there because of our human failings. People once used them in circuses and laboratory research, but then discarded them when they’d had enough of them. It’s never a good outcome to be discarded, and there’s usually some sort of trauma associated with it. But beyond that, I also think about it from our organizational perspective, and especially the resources needed to care for them. HSUS and The Fund for Animals — really, our donors — are financing the housing and feeding of these animals for decades, at a cost that will ultimately run into seven figures.
On the weekend following my visit, the Super Bowl was played just about an hour’s drive from Black Beauty. I watched it from the comfort of my home, hoping that in the torrent of ads, I would not see any more of those silly chimpanzee commercials — not because I don’t think the animals are appealing, but because I know what happens to them when they grow up. The animal-training companies that rent out animals for these gambits typically get rid of them when they reach early adolescence and they are too strong to be used on movie sets or in advertisements. They are cast aside at 7 or 8 years old, or even younger, even though they have a life expectancy of up to 60 years.
I was pleased to see many fewer chimpanzees in ads, especially compared to a few years ago when it seemed they were everywhere. This time, CareerBuilder stood alone in its callousness, continuing the theme it’s developed in recent years. For their cheap, tawdry and not very funny 30-second advertisement, they keep the animal-training companies in business, and the consequences are clear: chimpanzees will be abandoned, and operations like Black Beauty Ranch will have to clean up the mess they’ve made. The handful of heroic great ape sanctuaries operating in small rural outposts throughout the nation will spend millions in the decades ahead dealing with the lack of forethought exhibited by CareerBuilder and similar companies that just don’t get it. They are happy to profit, while the animals will pay with their lives, so many of them being forced to live in roadside zoos, research labs, or as pets in someone’s backyard or basement. In the end, only a small percentage of them go to sanctuaries.
In yesterday’s Christian Science Monitor, Patti Ragan of the Center for Great Apes put the lie to any fanciful claims about the educational value of such commercials, or the notion that CareerBuilder had merely brought its chimps “out of retirement.” What the company did was to line up a new generation of young chimpanzees, taken from their mothers at an early age and channeled into the pipeline of caged confinement. Ragan also points out that such portrayals of chimpanzees have a negative conservation impact — who would think that these animals are endangered in the wild when they are used so frivolously?
It’s shocking corporate indifference at work, blithely pressing chimpanzees into service for a commercial, in a day when millions of people understand that this kind of use is plainly wrong. It’s the wrong kind of brand awareness, and dozens of companies have pulled such advertisements or declined to use great apes in such demeaning and harmful fashion. To use chimpanzees as clowns is the oldest and the crudest of vaudevillian gimmicks, and CareerBuilder deserves the criticism being sent its way in the social media.
At HSUS, we’re active on a full range of fronts to help chimpanzees, whether it’s pushing to get chimpanzees out of laboratories, teaching people about chimps and their endangerment, supporting the work of sanctuaries and the protection of chimpanzees in the wild, investigating the mistreatment of chimps and other primates in captivity, pushing for passage of the Captive Primate Safety Act and the Great Ape Protection Act, or calling upon the federal government in our Change Agenda to list all chimpanzees as endangered under the Endangered Species Act (currently, wild chimpanzee populations are listed as endangered while captive chimpanzee populations are listed as threatened).
It’s time for all of the ad agencies to stop using chimps in entertainment, and it’s time for companies to make a similar pledge. It couldn’t be an easier commitment, and there’s no sacrifice involved. Just let the human mind do something more creative and entertaining than have a few baby chimpanzees walk around in human clothing. And do something not just for the animals, but for the self-sacrificing animal advocates who have plenty of other things to occupy their moral attention and their energies than caring for abandoned chimpanzees.
Few are in a position to speak for the animals like Wayne Pacelle. As President and CEO of The Humane Society of the United States, he leads 11 million members and constituents in the mission of celebrating animals and confronting cruelty.
What Happens to CareerBuilder's Ape 'Actors'?
The PETA Files
February 07, 2011
Written by Michelle Sherrow
Posted by PETA
Did you ever wonder what happens to the chimpanzees CareerBuilder uses in its Super Bowl ads when the company is done exploiting them?
The lucky ones end up at the Center for Great Apes sanctuary in Wauchula, Florida, which took in Bella, Ellie, Kodua, and Mowgli, all veterans of CareerBuilder's 2005 Super Bowl ad campaign.
The four young chimpanzees were turned over to the center when they grew too old (and strong) to be useful to CareerBuilder or anybody else in need of their "acting" services. Like other chimpanzee actors, Ellie, Mowgli, Bella, and Kodua were ripped from their mothers when they were babies and put to work. By age 8, young chimpanzees are too powerful to be handled, and most are shuffled off to roadside zoos, pseudo-sanctuaries, and backyard cages.
As Center for Great Apes founder Patti Ragan points out in a recent post on the sanctuary's website, "Those lucky enough to end up in an established sanctuary have to be supported by donations for the rest of their lives …." Considering the fact that chimpanzees can live into their 50s, she estimates that "it could take millions of dollars to provide [lifelong] care for the actors that sold CareerBuilder to the public." Wonder how much money CareerBuilder plans to spend on their care …
Fortunately, after pressure from PETA, at least 18 advertising agencies, including the top three U.S. agencies (McCann Erickson, BBDO, and Young & Rubicam), have agreed never to use great apes in their ads again. In an online editorial, Ad Age magazine supports the trend: "Over the past few years, you may have noticed fewer and fewer commercials featuring apes .... That's a positive development, but the fact is there should be none. … It's time to stop using them for the sake of selling product."
Are you listening, CareerBuilder?