Megan Rascal here, on the advertising beat again. I don’t know if you watch as much telly as I do (TV is my BFF), but a commercial circulating lately has caused some controversy. I know, big deal, but it’s the response to the controversy that is the real story. And by real story, I mean who cares but I’m going to write about it anyway.
A recent Chrysler commercial featured a monkey in an Evel Knievel costume, setting off an explosion of confetti. AS SOON AS I saw this commercial, I was like, “Oh great, a monkey “actor.”” Man, monkeys in clothes cause such internal conflict for me! I mean, holy crap, monkeys in clothes = the cuteness; but you KNOW it’s wrong wrong wrong. I end up feeling horrible for the monkey and feeling horrible because I think it’s cute. But when it comes down to it, abuse endured by “working” animals kind of trumps any and all giggles. Sorry, bros.
As you can imagine, PETA was not happy about this commercial either. WTF? CENSORSHIP IN ADVERTISING? This aggression will not stand! First they take your monkeys, next thing you know, they pull all the Marlboro ads from Nickelodeon. This is bullshit! (Don’t worry guys, I’m just kidding! As long as we can objectify women, I say let freedom ring.)
Eventually, after pressure from PETA, Chrysler removed the monkey from the commercial—by simply erasing it. The new ad features an “invisible monkey.” OMG those clever bastards. The Consumerist is calling this a “giant finger to PETA pantywringers.” As always, the Consumerist is basically a bunch of genius poets [Ed.: and their commenters!]; however, I would call this less of a finger to PETA and more of an interesting way of solving the problem. Sure, Chrysler comes off as a petulant teenager, but really they are a soldier in the fight against censorship! Talk hard, Chrysler! Fight for your right to party! They are going to keep their monkey even if you can’t see it! No but really, I think it’s kind of funny. They may not be apologetic about using a monkey to begin with but with the new edit, they send the message that monkeys don’t belong in commercials—whether they are happy about that message or not.
One thing I really enjoy about this whole situation is that the second version of the commercial is clearly the better of the two. Come on, a monkey in clothes? Cheap laughs 101. But an invisible monkey inspired by pertinacity? That’s comedy, folks! For real, when you take away tired gimmicks, creativity can flourish. Besides the disregard for animal welfare, the sad part of this story is that they didn’t rely on creativity in the first place.