Monty the Penguin Earns John Lewis a Compassionate Marketing Award

Posted by on November 12, 2014 | Permalink

The spotlight is on department store John Lewis this week. Its much-anticipated Christmas ad campaign has been received with excitement, with Monty, the ad’s penguin star, winning over the hearts of Christmas shoppers.

The ad won us over, too. That’s because the retailer and its advertising agency, adam&eveDDB, made the decision to use innovative computer-generated imagery (CGI) from the Moving Picture Company to create a stunningly lifelike penguin, rather than using a real one. So we’re sending John Lewis PETA’s Compassionate Marketing Award.

Using CGI saves frustrated, tormented animals from suffering in the TV and film industries, where they are treated as living props. On-screen entertainment has progressed technologically as well as socially since the commercials of the 1970s, in which chimpanzees were forced to wear roller skates, carry pianos or pour tea from a pot. Slick creations such as this ad show that using actual animals is, in addition to being cruel, utterly unnecessary!

Like all wild animals, penguins naturally shun contact with humans. Being hauled around by commercial animal handlers to be used as props for appearances or filming is extremely stressful to them and can leave them agitated, frightened and with weakened immune systems. By using CGI in the Christmas ad campaign, John Lewis has ensured that real-life penguins won’t have an unhappy holiday season.