I am very proud that BBDO recently agreed to take "The Great Ape Pledge" and will no longer use monkeys/apes/baboons/chimps in films.
I was completely shocked when I found out about what great apes have had to endure when they end up in commercials. This is because in order to train them, they are removed from their mothers when only weeks old, then they are beaten, punched and kicked just to learn how to act in front of a camera.
I had no idea. But once I did, I wanted to do something to help raise awareness of this injustice and make it stop. I knew many good people in the industry who had no idea anything like this was going on and would not want to take part in it if they did. We have always been very responsible about making sure that when we have animals on the set that they are treated humanely -- never realizing what they had gone through to get there. None of us want to do any harm.
So how do you advertise to the advertising industry? We applied what we do for a living to deliver the message exactly at the point where creative people might come up with an idea -- in the script phase. We came up with the idea of using the auto-correct tool so that whenever anyone typed in the words "monkey" or "ape" or "chimpanzee", this sentence appears automatically:
"... who was taken from his mother when only weeks old to act in front of a camera. During his training, the ape will be kicked, punched and beaten to perform what you are about to write. Don't let it happen: http://www.NoMonkeyBusinessOn.Tv."
This auto-correct program was installed on all computers in the BBDO network so that people would be educated at the point it mattered most. And we built a web site so that other people could learn about it, voice their opinion and take "The Great Ape Pledge" too.
To date, 14,255 people have pledged NOT to use apes in advertising.
That's fantastic and proves that we are doing the right thing.
I believe that if you put the facts on the table it creates a community. Once you know about this issue you have a completely different point of view. Unfortunately, we can't change the past, but we can prevent the suffering of other great apes by leaving them out of advertisements.
I was very happy that we decided to make an ad about the Great Ape Pledge for the Advertising Week program this year. We hope that other agencies will follow our lead and install a similar auto-correct program on their computers.
Please sign onto PETA's Great Ape Humane Pledge and share it with your friends and colleagues. By signing on, you commit to refusing to use any live great apes in your work. Because great apes deserve better.
To learn more watch the video and spread the word. http://www.NoMonkeyBusinessOn.Tv.