Visa uses Orangutan and Catherine Zeta Jones

Visa is the card of choice in the jungle for Catherine Zeta Jones as she faces a buffoonery of wily orangutans in Malaysia. The TV advertisement shows the female explorer flummoxed when an orangutan steals her luggage. Fortunately she still has access to her Visa card to order a truckload of bananas for bartering.

Catherine Zeta Jones with banana in Visa commercial

Click on the image below to play the video in YouTube

Credits for Visa Monkeys

Visa Monkeys was developed at Clemenger BBDO Sydney by creative director Danny Searle and senior art director Scott Walker.

Director was Matt Murphy of Goodoil Films, with cinematographer David Burr. The ad was shot in the reserve forest in Shah Alam near Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. The Goodoil team was supported by local production company, Applebox.

Post production was done at Fin Design.

Music was composed by Bruce Heald at SongZu, Sydney.

Animal Rights

This is the kind of advert that gets up the noses of animal rights organisations like PETA. On the PETA web site is the following appeal to activists:

Several large corporations must have been sharing notes recently, as they’ve all begun using captive great apes like chimpanzees and orangutans in their advertising campaigns to promote everything from soft drinks to credit cards. In doing so, they are also promoting a cruel industry that rips baby animals away from their mothers and trains them to perform, using tactics such as electric shocks and beatings with steel bars wrapped in electrical tape. Chimpanzees and orangutans who are too old to perform are not given sanctuary, as the industry would like consumers to believe, but are sold to biomedical research facilities or to tawdry roadside attractions—ensuring continued suffering.


The guide driving the vehicle is played by Thai comedian Vichai Jongprasitporn who had earlier appeared as the tuk tuk driver who beats the traffic to deliver Pierce Brosnan’s visa card. See the story at “chlim01 is bored“, the blog of Cambodian Alvin Lim.

Los Tigris Malaysia, provider of the orangutans in the advertisement, give a behind the scenes look at the making of the commercial, with some excellent photos. One photo shows Zeta Jones and an orangutan in the same shot, something that is not actually seen in the commercial. Apparently the ad is called “Visa Monkeys” because Visa had originally intended to use regular monkeys but found that orangutans were better suited for the script.

  • Anonymous

    hey i love this add. thanks heaps cos i was lookin for it ; )

    nice page by the way ; )

  • Anonymous

    I say it is not Zeta-Jones but a lookalike…anyone know for sure?

  • All the evidence in the press would indicate that this indeed Catherine Zeta Jones and not a lookalike. The use of a celebrity is consistent with the earlier use of Pierce Brosnan.

  • Paul

    Hi does anyone here remember the visa advert where the guy is in the grcery store and to speed things up he pays with 3 different visa cards and gets through quicker? I need to know what the song that was played during that advert. does anyone know what the song was called? please reply. It sounds to me like sakin stevens but i dont think it is.

  • Kris

    Why do humans always feel they can cause animal suffering simply for entertainment. Using apes in TV is cruel and unnecessary. Please – use digital imaging! Orangutans are an endangered species and one of the biggest causes of that is the poaching of mothers to steal babies. Where do you think they gets these animals from? Can’t believe this is still legal.

  • Amanda

    Poachers shoot mother orangutans only to injure them because then the mother comes down from the tree and offers her baby to the poachers (as if to say – please look after my baby because I am dying). Then the poachers slice off her head & and sell her skull. The baby ends up as a neglected pet on a leash or caged (for every baby that survives, two die on the pet trade journey). Now palm oil plantations are clearing orangutan habitats and their functional extinction in the wild is predicted in just two years – 2008. This is why I find it very hard to watch adverts such as these. For all our intelligence, we are extremely heartless and selfish animals.

  • Amazing advertising. Catherine looks so young that I can hardly recognize her. But yes! PETA is right about the animal over use. Live the beasts alone in their natural environment!

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