PETA Puts A (CG) Ape In A Tragic Spot To Make A Point About Apes In Spots

We don’t always agree with PETA’s approach to advertising, but here’s a spot with a great message, and great execution.

The ad, from BBDO New York, stars a chimpanzee–which is the very thing that PETA is trying to put an end to. The ape in the video is a remarkably lifelike CG creation from The Mill. The ape is also contemplating suicide. He stalks past the two-way mirror toward a gun on the table, lifts it with his opposable thumbs, and puts the barrel to his head. The message, supplemented with a voice-over by Adrien Brody, is that Hollywood apes suffer terrible abuses behind the scenes of commercial and film shoots. But why subject an animal to such a life, when CGI can create an absolutely lifelike image of one (or, you know, you could just stop using apes in your ads for things that aren’t ape-related)?

And the CG chimp here looks quite spectacularly real. “We pushed computer graphics imagery to a new level, creating bespoke technology in muscle and skin simulation, higher than any other project or film to date,” said The Mill’s animation director Angus Kneale in a statement. “We achieved this by developing new techniques from simulated bloodstreams, skin tension, and even individual pores at the base of every hair on the chimpanzee, all with the aim to create a creature that is practically indistinguishable from his flesh-and-blood counterpart.”

The video is part of PETA’s campaign, The Great Ape Pledge. Visit the site to learn about the treatment and lives of movie apes.

See the behind-the-scenes video here.