BBDO Fights Apes in Advertising Using Auto Correct

By Bob Marshall 

Over the years, primates have become the stars of some of advertising’s all-time classic spots. But, as a few creatives know, the use of apes, monkeys and the like in commercials can lead to physical and psychological animal abuse, and many times the stars of advertising aren’t quite given ethical treatment.

To fight against this problem that many aren’t aware of, BBDO NY has recently taken PETA’s “Great Ape Pledge,” encouraging creatives to make a pledge to avoid using monkeys in advertising at the campaign’s website. Want to take the pledge, but are sometimes forgetful when writing a spot? Well, the two parties involved give you exact wording to place in Microsoft Word’s Auto Correct function should you type “ape,” “monkey” or “gorilla.” As PETA puts it, “By signing on, you commit to refusing to use any live great apes in your work. Because great apes deserve better.” Indeed they do. Credits, and a memo regarding the campaign from BBDO CCO David Lubars after the jump.


From: Lubars, David
To: New York BBDOers
Subject: No Monkey Business


As many of you know, BBDO recently agreed to take “The Great Ape Pledge” and will no longer use monkeys/apes/baboons/chimps in films. This is because in order to train great apes, they have to be taken from their mothers shortly after birth, causing irreparable psychological harm to both. Further, the training is violent and their lives end up being bad. It’s plain wrong.

A great place to educate advertisers and agencies about the harm done to these animals is when a concept is first being born, at the script phase. So we’ve installed an auto correct program on all BBDO NY computers. Any time words like “monkey” or “ape” or “chimpanzee” are typed, the rest of a sentence appears automatically:

“…who was taken from his mother when only weeks old to act in front of the camera. During his training, the ape will be kicked, punched, and beaten to perform what you are just about to write. Don’t let it happen: http://www.NoMonkeyBusinessOn.Tv”

We’re hopeful that other agencies will follow our lead and install a similar auto correct program on their computers. In the meantime, this is a brilliant example of digital creativity at work. Congratulations to Toygar and his team.

To learn more, watch the video…then spread the word.



Agency: BBDO New York
Chief Creative Officer: David Lubars
Executive Creative Director: Toygar Bazarkaya
Art Directors: Daniel Aykurt/Tim Wettstein
Copywriters: Alessandro Fruscella/Patrick Herold
Interactive Designer: Quoc-Chau Doan
Web Producer: Quoc-Chau Doan