And the answer is YES. According to the New Scientist, this past TED conference two advertising executives, Keith Olwell and Elizabeth Kiehner, partnered up with Laurie Santos a primatologist at Yale University to see if captive monkeys, in this case brown Capuchins, could under stand the concept of money. The data was used to create an ad campaign that was first previewed at he Cannes Lions Festival, but will not be fully released until the study has been completed.
The premise of the experiment was as follows: "Brand A will be advertised and brand B will not. After a period of exposure to the campaign, the monkeys will be offered a choice of both brands." The brands in competition were two different colors of Jell-O. The Jell-O given the most preference will be decided the winner of the ad campaign.
At the heart of the project was getting to the core of messaging, which apparently meant focusing on a main capuchin (an human) driver, sex. "One billboard shows a graphic shot of a female monkey with her genitals exposed, alongside the brand A logo. The other shows the alpha male of the capuchin troop associated with brand A.Olwell expects brand A to be the capuchins' favoured product. "Monkeys have been shown in previous studies to really love photographs of alpha males and shots of genitals, and we think this will drive their purchasing habits."
While not the first study of this type (we have proven that various primates with give up their snacks to gain access to images of other primates of their species genitalia or as I like to call it, primate porn), it is a very interesting study in what is possible on a human level with this type of information.