March 11, 2008

At least the lizards are computer generated

Q. What's the deal with the quality of life of the chimp who appears in the AFLAC commercial? How could I communicate to AFLAC my distaste for their use of a chimp as entertainment?
- Marietta Nilson, Cape Cod

A. Probably better than the copywriter who wrote the spot.
I shouldn't encourage you, but I take my imaginary obligation to answer all questions seriously. So, you can write to their board of directors at: Aflac Incorporated, c/o Corporate Secretary, 1932 Wynnton Road, Columbus, Georgia 31999.
But I hope you don’t get their agency fired.
Animals used in advertising are treated very well during filming as dictated by law. However, oversight on living conditions before or after filming are out of the advertiser's and their agency's hands. But they do their best to work with reputable trainers.
Based on my personal experience with an elephant and her trainer on a photo shoot, I'd say animals in commercials are taken care of as well as if not better then those in zoos.

But I do hope their Orangutan winds up in the retirement home for chimpanzees mentioned in the last 15 minutes of a recent episode of This American Life.

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