The ad, which launched last week, uses a group of monkeys and poses the question of whether they will eventually produce the entire works of Shakespeare if left in a room full of typewriters.
Costa’s coffee has certification from the Rainforest Alliance, but five animal charities want the certification removed from the brand because they believe the ad promotes buying monkeys as pets.
The charities have collectively written to Costa Coffee urging the company to withdraw the ad.
The organisations include sanctuary Wild Futures, the Born Free Foundation, the International Primate Protection League, the Captive Animal’s Society and the British Union for the Abolition of Vivisection.
The Rainforest Alliance code states that all partners must respect wildlife and all products must demonstrate a “respect for people, wildlife and the environment.”
Rachel Havesi of Wild Futures says: “With the release of this new advert, we feel the need to reiterate our long-held concerns on the use of wild animals in entertainment,”
“While they are used in this way their welfare is severely compromised, and it has a knock-on effect in the trade in primates as pets,” she tells The Guardian.
Costa Coffee marketing director Jim Slater says: “The feedback on Costa’s first foray onto TV has been fantastic. The film is certainly helping people to understand the difference between great coffee served at Costa and the mediocre coffee found at some other places.”
“It goes without saying that we adhered to all of the rules, and more, to ensure that the monkeys were happy and safe. A few animal rights groups have achieved some free publicity, although in reality I’m not sure the ad has caused anybody to rush out and buy a pet monkey.”
Created by Karmarama, the ad aims to demonstrate the skill it takes to make the perfect cup of coffee.
It features a voiceover from Bill Nighy and aired for the first time on Friday (8 October).