Martin Agency Puts Brakes on Chimpanzee Ads After GEICO Spot Causes Controversy

For Immediate Release:
March 10, 2016

Contact:
David Perle 202-483-7382

The Martin Agency has pledged never again to use real apes in ads after an outcry over its latest GEICO campaign, in which a real chimpanzee replaced the insurance company’s clever computer-animated gecko.

More than 51,000 PETA supporters complained about the cruelty that chimpanzee “actors” endure behind the scenes, prompting both GEICO and Martin to swear off using great apes in future campaigns.

PETA—whose motto reads, in part, that “animals are not ours to use for entertainment”—explained to the agency that chimpanzee “actors” are removed from their highly protective mothers shortly after birth, which causes lasting psychological damage, and physical abuse of chimpanzees during training is standard practice. After a few short years as “actors,” apes become too strong to control, and most are discarded at roadside zoos and other substandard facilities.

After reviewing the evidence, Martin’s 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”—joining BBDO, DDB Worldwide, TBWA Worldwide, McCann Erickson, J. Walter Thompson Worldwide, Young & Rubicam, and other top ad agencies in adopting a policy that bans using the animals.

“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,” says PETA Senior Vice President Dan Mathews.

More information about PETA’s work to protect animals can be found at PETA.org.

For Media: Contact PETA's
Media Response Team.

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“Almost all of us grew up eating meat, wearing leather, and going to circuses and zoos. We never considered the impact of these actions on the animals involved. For whatever reason, you are now asking the question: Why should animals have rights?” READ MORE

— Ingrid E. Newkirk, PETA President and co-author of Animalkind