BBDO group under fire over chimp ads

The BBDO network is facing criticism for using chimpanzees in its advertisements for a second time in quick succession.

The work of French agency CLM BBDO, the current Pepsi Max television ad has come under fire from animal protection groups. One of the ads features a young chimpanzee driving a taxi.

Abbott Mead Vickers.BBDO (AMV) was criticised less than two years ago for creating a £2.7m campaign for Halfords that featured chimpanzees dressed in tracksuits and playing with car parts and tyres (MW May 29, 2003). Halfords decided to withdraw the campaign voluntarily. It called an agency review in October 2003, after parting company with AMV and citing “creative differences”.

The Captive Animals Protection Society has attacked the use of chimpanzees in the Pepsi ad and has threatened to call for a boycott of Pepsi products. CAPS campaign officer Craig Redmond says: “[A boycott] is a strategy we have to take into account and if we don’t get any proper response from Pepsi then it’s something CAPS will call for.” He is organising a letter from primate conservation groups worldwide to send to Pepsi directors.

Pepsi states that the chimp was supervised throughout the shoot and that regulators approved the ad.

AMV group chairman Michael Baulk says: “I’m happy to see the campaign run in this country.”

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