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Today In Advertising: PETA Persuades Dodge To Ditch The Fireworks Chimp

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Chimp from the 2010 Dodge Tent Event commercial

Chimp from the 2010 Dodge Tent Event commercial

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By now, you've probably seen the ad for the Dodge Tent Event: a stream of current Dodge models, all dressed out in black, zipping through a sales lot full of tents, banners, and those wacky inflatable tube people you often see at dealerships. Michael C. Hall (of Six Feet Under and now Dexter fame) talks about Dodge's 60-day satisfaction guarantee and what exciting times we live in. Then, a chimpanzee (not a monkey, as Hall says) saunters in and triggers a confetti cannon. Fin.

Thanks to some good-looking rides, Hall's deadpan delivery, and the timing of the gag at the end, it's a funny, memorable ad. But Dodge has agreed to re-cut the commercial and nix the chimp altogether, thanks to some lobbying from the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals. According to a statement from PETA:

After examining information supplied by primatologists at PETA and Chimpanzee Sanctuary Northwest, carmaker Dodge has agreed to remove footage featuring a chimpanzee "actor" from its "Tent Event" television commercial. The groups' information detailed how chimpanzees and other great apes used in advertising are traumatically removed from their mothers as infants and routinely abused in behind-the-scenes training sessions.

We've seen PETA's effect on fashion and cosmetics, but this may be the first time we've seen the organization have such a direct effect on the auto industry -- and frankly, we're not sure what's behind it. Perhaps performance-oriented Dodge has decided to go eco-friendly, or maybe the brand's marketing department wants to hit up the PETA demographic. Or maybe the commercial has simply run its course and needs to be re-cut anyway, so the timing was convenient.

Whatever the rationale, the jumpsuited chimp has left the building. If you missed him on TV, please take a moment to enjoy him now. (P.S. PETA's full email is posted below the clip.)

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DODGE ALTERS AD FEATURING CHIMPANZEE (from PETA)

After examining information supplied by primatologists at PETA and Chimpanzee Sanctuary Northwest, carmaker Dodge has agreed to remove footage featuring a chimpanzee "actor" from its "Tent Event" television commercial. The groups' information detailed how chimpanzees and other great apes used in advertising are traumatically removed from their mothers as infants and routinely abused in behind-the-scenes training sessions.

"PETA applauds Dodge's decision to distance itself from cruelty to apes who are used and abused in entertainment," says PETA Executive Vice President Tracy Reiman. "Public attitudes about animals are changing for the better, so steering clear of ads that exploit animals is good for business too."

Great apes used in advertisements are typically taken away from their mothers shortly after birth and forced to live in squalid conditions. Trainers have been caught routinely beating, kicking, and punching the young animals in order to force them into submission and ensure that they will perform tricks. These tricks require the animals to suppress their natural behavior and are confusing and often uncomfortable to them. When these long-lived animals reach adolescence (at around age 8) and become too large and strong to handle, they are often discarded at seedy roadside zoos and forced to live for decades in miserable conditions.

Fortunately, technology is helping to replace the use of great apes and other animals used as "actors" with humane alternatives. Advances in computer-generated imagery, animatronics, and animation have made it completely unnecessary to use animals in film and television productions.

Dodge joins a growing number of companies—including AT&T, Verizon Wireless, Samsung, Europcar, Sprint Nextel, Subaru, Honda, Levi Strauss & Co., PUMA, Yahoo!, Johnson & Johnson, and Gap Inc.—that have pulled the plug on existing ads featuring great apes or have pledged not to use great apes in any future advertising. Also, many top ad agencies, such as BBDO, Young & Rubicam, Grey, Saatchi & Saatchi,and Draftfcb, have pledged never to feature great apes in their ads.

[PETA via John]

 
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