Super Bowl Ads Scored Big For Chimpanzees

PETA has been boycotting the use of chimp "actors" for some time. Photo credit: PETA

(CULTURE) This year’s Superbowl was full of surprises. With a power outage, a Destiny’s Child reunion, and a questionable last-minute call, viewers were definitely kept on the edge of their seat. But no surprise to PETA was the humane direction taken by this year’s spread of commercials. This was the first Super Bowl since all of the top 10 advertising agencies in the U.S. agreed never to use great apes in their ads. As expected, not one of this year’s ads (most importantly CareerBuilder) featured chimpanzees or other great apes, and many ads used CGI to portray other animals. Read on to learn about how advertisers are finally utilizing kindness rather than relying on live animals for cheap laughs.” — Global Animal
PETA has been boycotting the use of chimp "actors" for some time. Photo credit: PETA
PETA has been boycotting the use of chimp “actors” for some time. Photo credit: PETA

PETA, Alisa Mullins

Ravens weren’t the only winning animals in Super Bowl XLVII. Great apes finally got a reprieve when CareerBuilder at long last decided to stop dressing up chimpanzees in business suits and featuring them in ads about immature coworkers. The ads were unintentionally ironic, since the chimpanzees truly were immature, as in babies. Thank the football gods that CareerBuilder decided to retire those idiotic ads before Ray Lewis got his first hip replacement.

In fact, no great apes were used in any Super Bowl commercial this year, the first year since all the top 10 U.S. advertising agencies pledged never to use great apes in their advertising after meeting with PETA.


As shown in PETA’s video exposé, narrated by Anjelica Huston, great apes are torn away from their mothers shortly after birth and are beaten in order to force them to perform. Once they get too powerful and dangerous to control, they are often discarded at dismal roadside zoos. 

Great apes weren’t the only animals given the day off. Most of the exotic animals featured in the Super Bowl ads were computer generated, not that the average viewer could tell the difference. It makes a big difference to the animals, though, when advertisers opt for realistic computer-generated imagery and animatronic stand-ins and refrain from subjecting real animals to the rigors and abuse of training both on the set and off.

During a PETA undercover investigation of a facility that trains big cats, we documented that the animals were deprived of food, dragged by chains around their necks, hit in the face, and smashed over the head with ax handles. When they’re not being forced to perform, exotic animals are confined almost constantly to cages and chains.

If this Super Bowl is any indication, cutting-edge companies seem to be recognizing that compassionate customers are turned off by animal abuse and will tune out cruel ads—because the only squirrel dance that we want to see during the Super Bowl features a burly linebacker.

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