The Martin Agency responded to a complaint from over 51,000 PETA supporters over its use of a chimpanzee in a recent GEICO ad, pledging to not use chimpanzees or other great apes in future campaigns.
PETA, whose motto reads in part that “animals are not ours to use for entertainment,” explained in its complaint to the agency that chimpanzee “actors” are separated from their mothers shortly after birth, causing lasting psychological damage. Physical abuse of such animals is also fairly common and they are typically abandoned at “roadside zoos and other substandard facilities,” the organization sates, once they become too physically strong to easily control.
After hearing the complaints and reviewing the evidence, The Martin Agency chief communications officer Dean Jarrett told PETA that the agency “agrees to [PETA’s] pledge not to use great apes in advertising for our clients in the future.”
The Martin Agency now joins BBDO, DDB Worldwide, TBWA Worldwide, McCann Erickson, J. Walter Thompson Worldwide, Young & Rubicam and other agencies who have pledged to not use apes in advertising.
“PETA applauds The Martin Agency for joining others in the advertising field who have learned that noisy studios, bright lights, and cruel training facilities are not the natural habitat for great apes,” said PETA senior vice president Dan Mathews.