Iceland's Christmas TV ad banned for being political

Staff writer

Supermarket Iceland's Christmas ad campaign has been banned from TV because it has fallen foul of political advertising rules.

As part of its festive campaign, the discount chain struck a deal with Greenpeace to use an animated short film featuring a cartoon orangutan and the destruction of its habitat.

The supermarket has became the first major UK retailer to undertake removing palm oil from its own-brand products.

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 EU ban on palm oil in biofuels in 2020.

Deforestation across South East Asia due to palm oil farming has led to orangutan populations being classified as critically endangered.

Clearcast, the watchdog responsible for vetting television adverts, said that the advert had breached rules on political advertising.

Iceland's founder, Malcolm Walker, told the Guardian: "This was a film that Greenpeace made with a voiceover 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."

The UN has warned that continued loss of habitats around the world is a major threat to the survival of humanity. Palm oils are found in numerous products, from chocolate to shampoos and there are growing calls globally to clearly label products so that consumers can make better informed decisions.

The company also tweeted, "You won't see our Christmas advert on TV this year, because it was banned. But we want to share Rang-tan's story with you... Will you help us share the story?"

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