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Dodge removes Suzie the chimp from its Tent Event commercial [video]

August 19, 2010 |  7:51 am

A few weeks ago Unleashed broke the story about the curious case of a Dodge tent event commercial starring Suzie, the young chimpanzee, which was pulled after the car manufacturer received complaints from animal activists about their use of such an animal to hawk cars and trucks.

"Most top ad agencies in the country won’t even consider producing an ad featuring a great ape these days given the well-documented abuse that young chimpanzees and orangutans suffer in the entertainment industry," PETA's primatologist, Julia Gallucci, told The Times.

Dodge acknowleged that they heard and understood the complaints, and promised to change the commercial to appease the outraged groups. "The ad was an innocent act only trying to be humorous," Kristin Starnes, head of Dodge car brand communications, wrote us in an e-mail. "In no way did the brand intend to promote any questionable practices. With the planned modification, we are simply taking some sound advice and altering direction in respect of PETA's initiatives."

So how would they modify a tv commercial? To refresh your memory, here is the original spot:

After the jump see how Dodge changed the ad to remove Suzie.

On Dodge's website they explained how after just two e-mails alerting them about the mistreatment that animals often suffer in order to make commercials, they decided to change their spot. They wrote how they were unaware about the bad practices that some animals endure to be trained for ads. "We were saddened to learn this, and in the spirit of Dodge we wanted to take action. We decided to take the spot off the air, and we stopped a full-page newspaper spread from running. Dodge is firmly committed to never using great apes in our advertisements again. We released a new commercial. The footage is identical, only this time you won't see Suzie."

PETA let us know that they were happy with the "invisible monkey."

"PETA applauds Dodge's decision to distance itself from cruelty to apes who are used and abused in entertainment. We at PETA have enjoyed Dodge's recent incarnation of the ad and are thrilled that Dodge has pledged never again to use great apes in its advertisements," Gallucci wrote The Times in an e-mail. "Dodge joins a growing number of companies — including AT&T, Verizon Wireless, Samsung, Europcar, Sprint Nextel, Subaru, Honda, Levi Strauss & Co., PUMA, Yahoo!, Johnson & Johnson, and Gap Inc. — that have pulled the plug on existing ads featuring great apes or have pledged not to use great apes in any future advertising."

How do you feel about the new commercial? Share your thoughts in the comments below.

-- Tony Pierce

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