Iceland Christmas ad banned over 'political message'

Ben Arnold
(Credit: Greenpeace)

Iceland’s Christmas advert has been banned from being broadcast on TV due to its overtly political message.

The frozen food supermarket chain re-used a short animated film made by Greenpeace which details the environmental destruction caused by the manufacture of palm oil.

But Clearcast, the advertising watchdog, has said that the ad is in breach of the 2003 communications act, and will not let it air on TV.

According to the advertising code, the ad was deemed to be ‘directed towards a political end’.

“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,” a spokeswoman for Clearcast said.

“The creative submitted to us is linked to another organisation who have not yet been able to demonstrate compliance in this area.”

The advert shows a girl who finds an Orangutan in her bedroom, which then tells her how deforestation for palm oil has destroyed its natural habitat.

Earlier this year the chain announced that it would remove palm oil from all its products.

“This was a film that Greenpeace made with a voice over by Emma Thompson,” said Iceland founder Malcolm Walker.

“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.”

“We wanted [the Greenpeace film] to be our signature campaign,” said Richard Walker, Malcolm’s son, told The Guardian.

“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.”

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