They’re smart, playful, and ridiculously adorable—but they don’t belong in ads.
The hip swimwear and clothing company Bonobos has shown that it’s a champion for chimpanzees by pulling from its Web site a video that featured a chimpanzee cavorting in swim trunks.
Once Bonobos gave it some thought (maybe after its staff filled up on what must be their favorite brain food), it didn’t seem like such a great (ape) idea to support an industry that captures baby apes and keeps them isolated in cages. The company realized that ads making apes look cute and clownish misrepresent these wild animals, who often end up dumped in roadside zoos when they get too large and strong to manage.
Here’s what the company had to say:
“At the end of the day, we made Big Chimpin’ with the best intentions—but we were also a little naive, and we’re not afraid to say so. One of our missions as a company is to help out our friends in the Congo who are working so hard to improve the situation there, so in using a real chimp in our video, we were actually doing ourselves a disservice as well.”
And what brought about the company’s change of conscience? People like you!
“We thank everyone who wrote to us out of concern for Suzy’s safety and dignity. In the end, it’s because of your thoughtfulness and willingness to speak up that we learned so much!”
Three cheers to Bonobos! It’s one more company—like Sprint Nextel, Gap, and SEGA—that has realized that apes do not aspire to be models or actors (even if they do seem cuter and more intelligent than some former child stars).
Written by Heather Drennan