Another CareerBuilder Chimp Ad Coming; Zoo Expert Disappointed

CHICAGO (CBS) — The CareerBuilder chimpanzees are back for a new Super Bowl commercial this year, in what an ape expert calls a continued “damaging and archaic practice.”

As WBBM Newsradio’s Mike Krauser reports, CareerBuilder is bringing back its notorious chimpanzees. The Chicago-based Web site has used them many times before in Super Bowl ads.

LISTEN: WBBM Newsradio’s Mike Krauser reports

The chimpanzees wear business suits and work for “Yeknom Industries” – “monkey” spelled backwards. But the fact that the ad references monkeys when chimpanzees are actually apes is not why some object to the ad campaign.

Among the objectors is Dr. Steve Ross, of the Lincoln Park Zoo Center for the Conservation of Apes.

“There is ample scientific evidence demonstrating the long-term negative impacts that the use of chimpanzees in commercials has on species conservation and welfare,” Ross said. “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.”

Dressing chimpanzees up in human settings, Ross says, makes people less inclined to realize they are endangered and support conservation efforts.

The zoo also warns that chimpanzees are in rapid decline and conservation experts fear they may become extinct within the next 50 years if significant conservation action isn’t taken.

Using chimps in commercials is also rife with welfare concerns, the zoo’s release said. What’s at issue isn’t whether the chimpanzees are treated humanely during the short window of time they are on the set filming, 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. Their active “acting” careers are typically only a few years, after which they become too large, strong and unmanageable. And 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,” Ross said. “The simple fact is that using chimps in ads isn’t funny, it’s sad.”

The chimpanzees first appeared in CareerBuilder’s ads during the company’s Super Bowl debut in 2005. Last year’s commercial showed the chimpanzees making life difficult for the lone human employee of Yeknom Industries, damaging his car and running over its roof after he parked in the company lot.

“From a business trip gone awry to an unorthodox fire safety meeting to a ‘car sandwich’ in the company parking lot, the chimpanzees are all about monkey business,” CareerBuilder said.

Last year’s ad drew criticism, too. Supporters of the group People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals donned chimpanzee masks for a protest at the lobby of the Chicago headquarters of CareerBuilder. But CareerBuilder responded at the time that during the production of last year’s ad, it had “followed the strictest guidelines to ensure our chimpanzee stars were treated well and not harmed in any way.”

The Chicago Sun-Times’ James Scalzitti contributed to this report, via the Sun-Times Media Wire.

  • Bill S

    Attention: Dr. Steve Ross. Take a chill pill.

    • rsd

      These commercials have been going on for years and nobody said a word. And nobody has a problem with a human baby being used in the E-trade commercials?

      How about all the monkeys that appeared in movies, tv shows (like “Friends”)? Where are the protesters?

      For many years, animals have appeared in many commercials, movies–some being the STAR of the movie; and tv shows. What next? Ban the Clydesdales in Budweiser commercials??

      Ban dogs in dog food commercials? Ban cats in kitty littler commercials?

      If loud protests over monkeys is so pronounced, then BAN ALL ANIMALS from all commercials.

  • JeanSC

    I for one DO object to the casual labeling of chimps as “monkeys,” just because it’s incorrect. Media should note that many many reporters are also guilty of this error, and should stop.If you support science and science education, be part of the solution, not part of the problem.

  • Micheal Savage

    Wow, look whos campagning again!!!!!!!!

    • THEE Yard Ape

      LOL !!!! BRAVO !!!!!!!

  • Just Axin

    Lyndia- You’re beautiful!

    • Leroy Goldberg

      Here I thought it was NWA all dressed up with a tie.

      • Afro

        If they put a tie on NWA it would be a hate crime

      • THEE Yard Ape

        Great minds think alike Leroy !!!!

  • Larry Horse's Arse Horse's Arse

    Who cares about the apes? Let’s care about people. Oh, but that’s not what Careerbuilder does.

    Careerbuilder is a site filled with job ads posted by recruiters, who have no jobs and only want to stack their resume databases and meet their quotas. You rarely find a legit ad on there. Also, if you post your resume there, you’ll start getting spam email about fake jobs as well as telemarketing phone calls.

    What a great website, huh? It’s probably the worst job ad site out of the 4-5 big ones. CL, SH and Indeed are all much better.

    • Leroy Goldberg

      I just want to thank CBS for printing this story and the picture along with it. I mean seriously that’s like trying to put out a fire with gasoline.

      NWA, Lyndia and friend … are very photogenic.

  • DEN

    “Dressing chimpanzees up in human settings, Ross says, makes people less inclined to realize they are endangered and support conservation efforts.”

    What? Where did they get that? Chimps are used as caged-up research animals internationally. Conservation—pah!

  • Just Axin

    Next time Lyndia, check yo weave.

  • Dawn Forsythe

    Bravo to Lincoln Park Zoo for leading on this! Dr. Ross and others have been trying to educate CareerBuilder for years, but the company deliberately thumbs its nose at people who are concerned about the welfare of these chimps, and about the implications for chimpanzee conservation. Responsible companies are listening to ape welfare advocates. Pfizer created an innovative ad campaign for Robitussin, using a computer generated image of an orangutan. Which company is smart and forward looking, and which one is mired in the ignorant yuck-yucks of the last century?

    There is a petition asking CareerBuilder to stop using live chimps in the Super Bowl ad. Go to

  • KM

    Hi, I’m an advertising copywriter who has used both chimps and dogs in commercials. It’s not the same. Dogs enjoy it. They follow commands and don’t really need any discipline to do their thing. Chimps may look like they’re having fun in the ad, but I can tell you from personal experience, it’s not the case. The trainers are incredibly mean to them. It’s clear they don’t like it and I would absolutely call it abuse. I’ll never put a chimp in an ad again. Humans, dogs, etc. aren’t abused to get the “performance.” Chimps are and it’s pretty sad to be on the set when it happens.

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