Iceland's Christmas TV ad banned for being political

Brunilde Fioravanti
Novembre 9, 2018

Iceland had planned to make a splash this year in the hotly contested battle for the title of most memorable Christmas advert with a hard-hitting animated offering spotlighting the role of palm oil in driving rainforest destruction.

The supermarket was hoping to showcase its decision to stop using palm oil in its products, while raising awareness of the controversial commodity's environmental impacts.

In Rang-Tan, a little girl finds an orangutan in her bedroom and she doesn't "know what to do".

Earlier this year, the major food retailer committed to remove palm oil from all its own-brand foods by the end of 2018.

Iceland's main Christmas advert has been banned from TV as it is judged to be too political. Habitat loss in countries such as Malaysia - a major global producer of palm oil - has contributed to the orangutan now being classified as critically endangered.

Iceland will still be placing TV ads, but only 10-second clips that will highlight palm oil-free products.

In a statement Clearcast suggested the advert does not clear this hurdle.

Richard Walker, managing director at Iceland said: 'Throughout 2018 we have led the retail industry to take action in areas such as rainforest destruction for palm oil and plastic pollution of our oceans. "The creative submitted to us is linked to another organisation who have not yet been able to demonstrate compliance in this area".

Palm oil is one of Malaysia's biggest exports worth around £17bn a year but the growing backlash over the destruction of Asia's biodiversity has sparked an angry response from farmers; who already see their livelihoods under threat from an European Union ban on palm oil in biofuels in 2020.

But now Iceland are releasing the advert online so that it can still be seen.

'The culmination of our palm oil project is offering our customers the choice of an orangutan friendly Christmas, and we wanted to reflect this in our advertising.

Iceland's founder Malcolm Walker said: "This was a film that Greenpeace made with a voice over by Emma Thompson". "Our commitment to help protect the home of orangutans remains extremely close to our hearts".

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