Should advertisers be paying their animals?

Careerbuilder_4Did you ever get the nagging feeling that Spuds McKenzie was grossly, almost criminally underpaid? Or that Jonah the E*Trade chimp got the shaft? The animal kingdom gives a lot to advertising, and gets little in return. In the most recent Super Bowl alone, we had the CareerBuilder chimps, the Clydesdales, a streaking sheep, a grizzly bear—it was a damned zoo. And what thanks do these creatures get? A few nuts. Some wet food, maybe. A kick in the furry backside on their way out to pasture. One man wants to change all this. According to a report in The Economist (subscription only, but you can get a day pass), a Canadian filmmaker named Gregory Colbert, who is known for his work with animals, is setting up something called the Animal Copyright Foundation. Some sort of “Animal Copyright” button would appear on the ads of participating companies, which would donate “1 percent of a media buy, including print, broadcast and Internet, [for ads] that use animals.” Almost all the proceeds would go to conservation projects. It sounds like a cool idea. Why shouldn’t animals benefit in some way from their talent? And it would mean big money for good causes. Most advertisers will probably dismiss it out of hand, but we’re on board, with one caveat: the Geico gecko gets nothing, because he’s a cockney yob.

—Posted by Tim Nudd