On January 22, 2013, Ad Age published an update on CareerBuilder advertising plans for Super Bowl 2013: CareerBuilder Quits Monkeying Around with Super Bowl. While the company never responded to the petition drive we managed for a year, we are confident that they heard the objections of the 6,252 signers.

The history of efforts to convince CareerBuilder to stop using chimpanzees in their Super Bowl ads:

Many advertisers have pledged not to use apes in ads, but CareerBuilder obstinately clings to the sick era of the last century. On January 24, CareerBuilder announced that it would be using living chimpanzee in its new Super Bowl ad. Most of us saw the report in Forbes: CareerBuilder’s chimps are back, 1/24/2012
After the announcement, the chimp advocacy community developed a strong and united effort to educate the public about the harm that CareerBuilder’s outrageous exploitation was inflicting on individual animals, and on efforts to educate the public (in the U.S., in Africa, and around the world) about the importance of conservation efforts.
Chimp Trainer’s Daughter Dawn Forsythe started a petition drive on Tell CareerBuilder to stop the use of chimps in Super Bowl ads, 1/25/2012
Save the Chimps’ Jen Feuerstein started an event on Facebook that quickly garnered the support of thousands: Change the Channel for Chimps, 1/25/2012
The Chicago media started reporting a statement by Lincoln Park Zoo’s Steve Ross, kicking off the zoo’s superbly managed public education campaign. One of the beginning’s best reports was from the Lincoln Park Times: Lincoln Park Zoo bashes CareerBuilder’s “Insensitive” Super Bowl ad, 1/26/2012
Lincoln Park Zoo’s Kevin Bell wrote a public note, explaining to zoo goers why chimps should not be used in entertainment: Chimpanzees in commercials, 1/26/12
PETA released a letter from Anjelica Huston, castigating CareerBuilder: Company’s monkey business is uncreative and cruel, 1/27/2012
Public campaign picks up steam with ABC Good Morning America’s report: Activists protesting CareerBuilder chimps, 1/28/2012

Dr. Steve Ross, Lincoln Park Zoo's chimpanzee expert, is interviewed by news outlets across the country. One of the best is an interview on Fox Chicago News: Chimps ad exploitive, bad for animals, 1/30/2012
Herman the Ape made his cartoon debut in a scathing piece of political art: Inquiring chimps want to know about CareerBuilder, 1/30/2012

Dr. Jane Goodall wrote a moving letter to CareerBuilder, and asked her supporters to sign on: Super Bowl ad to feature chimpanzees, 2/1/2012
Chimp Haven provided their web visitors with a comprehensive summary of the range of efforts: CareerBuilder’s exploitation of chimpanzees, 2/1/2012
Dawn Forsythe submitted an op-ed to McClatchy-Tribune News Service, picked up by Arizona Daily, Bellingham Herald, Bend Bulletin, Charlotte Observer, Coastal Senior, Guelph Mercury, Lagos Television, McClatchy DC,, Sacramento Bee, The Record, Victoria Times Colonist, and ZAPlurk: Use of chimps in Super Bowl ad is no laughing matter, 2/2/2012.
Humane Society’s Wayne Purcell gave a scathing indictment of Career Builder: It’s time to bench the Super Bowl chimp ads, 2/2/2012
Herman the Chimp issues his second amazing cartoon: Who are the real CareerBuilder clowns?, 2/2/2012

Dawn delivers the petition, with over 2700 signatures, to management at CareerBuilder, as well as to executives at the Tribune Company and Gannett (CareerBuilder owners). The cover letter asks for a response by Valentine Day, 2/8/2012.

Gavin Palone, columnist at New York magazine, wrote a terrific column, It’s Been a Shameful Month for Animal Cruelty in Entertainment, 2/8/2012
Time Magazine graded the ad a "D" with a definitive "Ugh. Enough with the chimp commercials, CareerBuilder. We remember them from 2005–2006–2011." 2/6/2012
The 2012 effort is strong, but the outrage against CareerBuilder started earlier.
Animal trainer Steve Martin breeds, owns, trains, exploits, and dumps the chimps that are used by CareerBuilder. This 2010 blog by Albany Animal Rights tells some of the stories behind other chimps used and abused by Martin.
The Center for Great Apes explained the hard truths about show chimp “retirements” after last year’s Super Bowl: What happens to those CareerBuilder chimps?, Christian Science Monitor, 2/2/2011
Ad Age came out against CareerBuilder’s use of chimpanzees, pointing out that “ten of the biggest ad agencies in the country have pledged not to work with apes again”: Memo to Adland – Enough with the monkey business, 2/6/2011


  1. I've enjoyed reading your blog. I worked at the Detroit Zoo in 1959 and 1960 as a seasonal employee. Although I was classified as a Park Maintenance Assistance, due to a shortage of keepers and based on my previous experience of working with animals (I worked for Dr. Lyle Hartrick in Royal Oak during high school) as well as being a biology major at Wayne State, they had me working with animals. I worked in the animal hospital with Dr. Keith Applehoff DVM and Esther Steinbrugge a clerical/animal assistant as well as in other areas of the Zoo. Which brings me to the chimps. I spent a lot of time in the Great Ape exhibit and got to know some of the keepers. Although his face is familiar I don't remember associating with your dad although I might recognize his name. My main contact was with Bill Polivich. I have some interesting stories to tell about working with the apes and some of the people associated with them, and if you are interested I can be contacted by phone. I will send you the phone number (I don't want it published) if you email me. Late afternoons are best. I can't easily commnicate with you via text as I have severe arthritis and typing, for me, is difficult. If you are interested I'd be glad to speak with you. Best wishes and continued good luck with your blog. Richard S.

    1. Richard, I would love to talk to you! I don't have your email address!! Please send an email to me at

      I hope to hear from you.



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