Last month, the folks at Dodge found themselves in PETA’s crosshairs after producing a commercial featuring Susie the Chimpanzee. Dressed as Evel Knievel, Susie came in at the end of a spot to push down a lever which triggers a confetti explosion.
According to Dodge, the ad—which was posted to YouTube—received quite a bit of positive attention for its “wit and humor” yet the company was drawn to a handful of comments that mentioned the commercial promotes animal cruelty. Soon after the video hit YouTube, Dodge was contacted by PETA and a chimpanzee sanctuary in Washington State who both took issue with the commercial and informed the car manufacturer of the horrible conditions in which animal actors are forced to live.
“We were saddened to learn this, and in the spirit of Dodge we wanted to take action,” Dodge says in a message posted in the company website. “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.”
Subsequently Dodge released a new commercial with the identical footage but this time, Susie is out of the picture—literally. Dodge erased the chimp so viewers only see an “invisible monkey” as stated by announcer Michael C. Hall of Six Feet Under and Dexter.
Dodge is using the commercial to point viewers to a special website where the story is explained and resources are provided to raise awareness of animal cruelty.
The ad sans Susie is now being aired. Below are the before and after commercials.