Iceland Christmas ad banned over 'political message'

Iceland Christmas

The statement went on to say: "However, it has been ruled our advert will not appear on TV alongside other supermarkets as it was banned by advertising regulations on grounds of political advertising".

The commercial, voiced by Emma Thompson, the actress, and originally produced by Greenpeace, features a cartoon orangutan and shows how the spread of palm oil plantations is harming the rainforest.

Richard Walker, managing director for Iceland Food group said: "We wanted [the Greenpeace film] to be our signature campaign".

The discount supermarket chain had hoped the campaign would shed further light on this growing issue while rivalling John Lewis as one of the most talked about ads of the festive season.

It noted adverts can not be "directed towards a political end" as part of the broadcast code for advertising practice (BCAP).

A video still of Iceland's banned Christmas TV advertisement.

The advert focuses on the impact of palm oil on deforestation, and follows the supermarket's decision to remove the product from all its own-label food by the end of 2018. The critically endangered status of orangutans has been caused in part by the production of palm oil in productions such as Malaysia, noted The Guardian. It outlines the effects of palm oil production on orangutan habitats, with Iceland declaring it has removed all palm oil from its products. "Clearcast and the broadcasters have to date been unable to clear this Iceland ad because we are concerned that it doesn't comply with the political rules of the BCAP code", it said.

But the animated advert, which tells the story of a young girl who discovers an orangutan - called Rang-Tan - making a mess in her bedroom, has fallen foul of the Broadcast Code of Advertising Practice and been pulled. "Will you help us share the story?"

The advert would have seen Iceland committing over half a million pounds of media spend to ensure that it was seen by millions of consumers - a bold move away from the usual commercial, product-led advertising in order to highlight an important issue causing climate change and biodiversity loss.

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