The American Anti-Vivisection Society is up in arms over one of Puma’s latest TV commercials. The animal rights organization posted a statement on its Web site asking the sneaker company to stop using primates in its ads.
The offending spot shows a chimpanzee inspecting a Puma running shoe. The AAVS calls the commercial "not only seemingly pointless, but cruel. … The commercial opens with a baby chimp in a diaper walking up to a sneaker … The relevance of the chimp is unclear." (To see the chimp spot, click here and scroll down to the link "View ‘New Stuff’". Click on it and then on option #2. )
Puma expressed its point of view in November, when its three-spot, animal-focused "New Stuff" effort broke. It felt the ads showed animals interacting "with the product in an adoring distinctive way."
The AAVS, which works to stop animal testing and cruelty, calls this a "bizarre marketing strategy." (The group had no complaint about the portrayal of butterflies and army ants in other "New Stuff" spots, though those creatures appear to have been computer-generated, rather than trained to perform.)
But it’s a little difficult to see what all the fuss is about. Puma has insisted that no harm came to the chimp during the making of its ad, and says, in a statement, it "took every precaution to insure the safety and well being of the chimpanzee."
"In addition to the animal’s devoted trainer, the American Humane Society was present during the duration of the production. Prior to the airing of the campaign, Puma submitted the commercial to animal rights organizations asking if they had any concerns. To date, no negative feedback from these organizations has been received."
—Posted by Lisa van der Pool