Richards Group Signs PETA’s Great Ape Humane Pledge

Largest Independently Owned U.S. Ad Agency Will Never Exploit Humans’ Closest Relatives

For Immediate Release:
June 18, 2013

Kaitlynn Kelly 202-483-7382

Norfolk, Va. – After receiving a letter from PETA, Dallas-based Richards Group has signed PETA’s Great Ape Humane Pledge, promising to leave chimpanzees, orangutans, and gorillas out of all its future campaigns. The timing couldn’t be better: PETA’s brand-new ad, titled “98% Human”—created by worldwide advertising agency network BBDO and featuring a realistic computer-generated ape created by award-winning production company The Mill—was just submitted to The Cannes International Film Festival and featured in Adweek.

“Like human babies, great ape babies need to be with their mothers, not taken away from them and left scared and alone in steel cages on a hot, noisy set,” says PETA Foundation Director of Captive Animal Law Enforcement Delcianna Winders. “By pledging not to use great apes, Richards Group is helping stop animal abuse in advertising.”

In the letter, PETA explained that chimpanzees and orangutans used for advertising are torn away from their highly protective mothers shortly after birth, causing irreversible psychological harm. The miserable life of ape “actors,” graphically portrayed in PETA’s video exposé narrated by Anjelica Huston, shows that their physical abuse during preproduction training is standard practice. When the apes reach around 7 or 8 years of age, they become too strong and dangerous to handle and are discarded, often ending up in seedy roadside zoos, where they languish for decades.

Richards Group joins a growing list of top ad agencies—including BBDO, DDB, TBWA, McCann Erickson, JWT, and Y&R—that have also agreed not to use great apes. Many other companies, including AT&T, Verizon Wireless, Johnson & Johnson, Levi Strauss & Co., Bridgestone, and Sprint Nextel, have adopted policies that ban the use of great apes in their ads. Dodge, Travelers Insurance, Pfizer, Europcar, Capital One, Samsung, and numerous other companies have pulled or modified ads featuring apes after learning about their suffering.

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