A parrot, a tree frog and a chipmunk. These are the three animals that made the finals in Frontier Airlines' publicity stunt to choose a new mascot and spokes-animal for the tails of some of its planes. All three have been campaigning at coffee shops and yogurt joints around Denver, its suburbs and Colorado Springs over the past week, getting people to vote for them online. But there may be a problem. Chloe the Chipmunk -- whose pet peeves, according to the airline, are "four letter words, liars and litterbugs" -- may not be a chipmunk at all. In fact, Chloe appears to be a golden-mantled ground squirrel, a rodent often confused with the chipmunk.
The proof: The two animals are often confused in Colorado, where their habits and habitats are similar. Both animals are adorable. Both have stripes on their backs and similar coloration. And both store food in their cheek pouches and hibernate during the winter. But according to extensive Internet research, all 23 species of chipmunk have facial stripes, while golden-mantled ground squirrels do not.
And while Chloe -- whose pastimes include volunteer work, fire safety drills and church picnics -- is certainly sickeningly sweet, she does not, in fact, have facial stripes. Frontier spokeswoman Lindsey Carpenter expressed bemused alarm at the notion that Chloe might not be a chipmunk and vowed to get to the bottom of the situation. After contacting Frontier's advertising director, she says the airline was assured by its New York advertising agency that the photo of the animal in question is indeed a chipmunk.
"We don't have any information that would indicate otherwise," Carpenter says. "So, for now, she is a chipmunk and if she wins and would rather be called a ground squirrel, then we will honor her wishes."
But until that time, be careful who you vote for.
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In the meantime, you can find out where Polly the parrot, Enrique the tree frog and Chloe the "chipmunk" are campaigning by going to Frontier's Facebook page and clicking on the events tab. This isn't the only important issue Frontier is asking flyers to vote on. The airline also wants to know which Colorado craft beer to serve. Read about it here.