Doesn't Careerbuilder Get It? Exploiting Chimpanzees in Latest Ad is Not Funny

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Doesn't Careerbuilder Get It? Exploiting Chimpanzees in Latest Ad is Not Funny

Jan 26, 2012


Media Contact:
Sharon Dewar
(312) 742-2246


Doesn’t CareerBuilder Get it?

Exploiting Chimpanzees in Latest Ad is Not Funny

(Chicago, Jan. 26, 2012) – Chicago-based CareerBuilder has once again drawn the ire of Chicago’s Lincoln Park Zoo, a national leader in chimpanzee welfare and conservation, because of its latest highly insensitive television advertisement to be debuted during Super Bowl XLVI, which features costumed chimpanzees. Zoo officials charge that CareerBuilder is exploiting an endangered species and asks them, once again, to stop it.

“There is ample scientific evidence demonstrating the long-term negative impacts that the use of chimpanzees in commercials has on species conservation and welfare,” explained Steve Ross, Ph.D., assistant director of the Lester E. Fisher Center for the Study and Conservation of Apes at Lincoln Park Zoo. “These are endangered species we’re talking about. CareerBuilder is well aware that their commercials are contributing to negative outcomes for this species, which could become extinct in the next few decades, and yet they continue this damaging and archaic practice. It’s very disappointing.”

Several recent scientific studies published in notable, peer-reviewed journals including Science and PLoS One demonstrate a direct correlation between people viewing chimpanzees in commercials, such as the ones Careerbuilder produces, and their conservation actions and attitudes after viewing. A pattern is clear – people who view chimpanzees in human settings and wearing clothes are less inclined to think the species is endangered and less inclined to support conservation efforts to save them. Unfortunately, the fact is that chimpanzees are in rapid decline and conservation experts fear they may be extinct within the next 50 years if significant conservation action isn’t taken.

Using chimpanzees in television commercials is also rife with welfare concerns. At issue is not whether the chimpanzees are treated humanely during the short window of time they are on the set filming a commercial, but rather the impacts of being in the entertainment business itself. Ross explains that animals used in entertainment are often taken from their mothers at a young age which can result in tremendous emotional and psychological distress. The active "acting" careers of these chimpanzees are typically only a few short years, after which they become too large, strong and unmanageable. Because chimpanzees can live 50-60 years, those deemed no longer useful to the media may end up in suboptimal housing for the rest of their lives.

“There are significant conservation and welfare concerns, and because of this many major advertising agencies have pledged to no longer use chimpanzees in ad campaigns,” explained Ross. “The simple fact is that using chimps in ads isn’t funny, it’s sad. There is overwhelming public sentiment that these practices are simply not acceptable and that the lives of these chimpanzees are far more important than the few laughs they might receive during a 30-second advertisement.”

Ross is the founder of Lincoln Park Zoo’s Project ChimpCARE, a group dedicated to examining the link between media usage of chimpanzees and the conservation and welfare impacts on the species.

In December, Project ChimpCARE released a free children’s book for iPad called Chimps Should be Chimps which addresses the issues of media usage of chimpanzees in a way that aims to educate and inform kids – and their parents - from the animal’s perspective. Through rhyming, lyrical prose, the story is told through the eyes of two chimpanzee characters: wise old Poe and his granddaughter Lulu who live amongst other chimpanzees at a local zoo. The colorfully illustrated and interactive iPad book engages children while driving home the message that chimpanzees should be allowed to be chimpanzees.

Ross continues to conduct and publish research and aims to educate media executives about the plight of chimpanzees in the hopes that they will shift their ideas about what is funny and what is not when it comes to chimpanzees. He also expresses hope that the children's book will reach a younger generation who will be active in changing the world to be a better place for wildlife. Download the free app and learn more at



Chicago’s Lincoln Park Zoo, a historic landmark founded in 1868, is dedicated to connecting people with nature by providing a free, family-oriented wildlife experience. A leader in conservation science both globally and locally, the zoo exemplifies the highest quality animal care and educational outreach. The not-for-profit zoo, managed by The Lincoln Park Zoological Society, is a member-supported organization and one of the nation’s only free, privately managed zoos. For more information, call 312 -742-2000 or visit For more information about Project ChimpCARE visit:

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