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Iceland Christmas TV Advert banned

Iceland's Christmas TV advert has been banned for being ‘too political’


The British supermarket’s Greenpeace film on the impact of palm oil on orangutan has been deemed a ‘rule breach’ by watchdog.


Iceland’s Christmas campaign has been banned from TV channels as it has been deemed to be a breach of political advertising rules.

As the festive season is coming ever closer, the discount supermarket finalised a deal with Greenpeace to broadcast an animated short film featuring an orangutan and the destruction of its rainforest home at the hands of palm oil farmers, as part of its holiday campaign.

Earlier this year, Iceland became the first major UK supermarket to pledge to remove palm oil from all its own-brand products. The loss of habitat due to palm oil farming has contributed to the orangutan now being classified as critically endangered.

The decision to withdraw the add from the holiday season was made by Clearcast, the body responsible for vetting ads before they are broadcast to the public. The organisation said it was in breach of rules banning political advertising as stipulated by the 2003 Communications Act.

The supermarket’s founder, Malcolm Walker, said, “This was a film that Greenpeace made with a voice over by Emma Thompson. We got permission to use it and take off the Greenpeace logo and use it as the Iceland Christmas ad. It would have blown the John Lewis ad out of the window. It was so emotional.”

One of the regulations enshrined in the broadcast code for advertising practice (BCAP), is that an ad is prohibited if it is “directed towards a political end”.

A spokesperson for Clearcast said, “Clearcast and the broadcasters have to date been unable to clear this Iceland ad because we concerned that it doesn’t comply with the political rules of the BCAP code. The creative submitted to us is linked to another organisation who have not yet been able to demonstrate compliance in this area.”

Iceland has decided to still be true to the main issue and will still be placing TV ads, however, only 10-second clips that will highlight palm oil-free products.

The son of the company’s founder, Richard Walker, who has led Iceland’s switch to environmental campaigning, stated, “We wanted [the Greenpeace film] to be our signature campaign. We have said repeatedly we are not anti-palm oil; we are anti-deforestation. We think this is a huge story that needs to be told. We always knew there was a risk [the clip would not be cleared for TV] but we gave it our best shot.”


Team Panda

12th November 2018

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