Sprint Nextel agrees to stop using apes in ads after complaint from PETA, Anjelica HustonBy David Twiddy, AP
Friday, June 26, 2009
Sprint Nextel agrees to stop using apes in ads
KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Sprint Nextel Corp. said Thursday it will no longer use great apes in its advertisements after animal rights activists complained about an ad by the wireless provider that features a chimpanzee.
The Overland Park, Kan.-based company said the ad will stop running in movie theaters on July 3, when it already was scheduled to end. It also said it will not use great apes in future ads.
“Sprint and its advertising agency, Goodby, Silverstein & Partners, take all necessary precautions to ensure any animals appearing in Sprint advertising are taken care of and are treated well,” the company said in a brief statement posted on its Web site.
A Sprint spokesman declined further comment.
The ad, meant to encourage theatergoers to turn off their cell phones before the movie, features a chimp movie star and his agent negotiating over the phone with producers for a part in a film.
People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals asked Sprint to pull the ads last month, saying animal trainers are known to abuse the animals they work with. The organization said it didn’t have evidence the chimpanzee used in Sprint’s ad had been abused.
At one point, PETA awarded Sprint a “Baddy,” which the organization assigns to companies with problematic advertising.
PETA upped the ante earlier this month when actress Anjelica Huston wrote about the poor treatment of some animal performers in Hollywood in a letter to Sprint CEO Dan Hesse.
Kristie Phelps, assistant director for PETA’s Animals in Entertainment campaign, welcomed Sprint’s decision. The wireless provider joins a number of U.S. companies, including Johnson & Johnson, Gap Inc. and Levi Strauss & Co., that have agreed to not use great apes in advertising.
“We’re very pleased they’ve reached this compassionate decision,” Phelps said. “Every leading zoologist has come out against the use of great apes in entertainment because … you must use dominance and fear to get chimpanzees to perform.”
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