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09th Nov 2018

Iceland’s Christmas advert banned for being too political

James Dawson

The banned Iceland advert was taken from an animated Greenpeace short film

Iceland has had its Christmas advert banned from TV for breaching political advertising rules.

The ad, which remains available to watch online, was adopted from an animated Greenpeace short film. It features a young girl and an orangutan, and describes the destruction of rainforests as a result of palm oil production. Its release comes after the discount supermarket announced earlier this year that it was no longer including palm oil in its own-brand products.

However, the broadcast code for advertising practice (BCAP) states that adverts with messaging “directed towards a political end” are prohibited. The ad has instead been launched through the retailer’s YouTube channel.

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

Iceland’s managing director Richard Walker 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.

“This year we were keen to do something different with our much anticipated Christmas advert. 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.

“Whilst our advert sadly never made it to TV screens, we are hopeful that consumers will take to social media to view the film, which raises awareness of an important global issue.”

Palm oil production is estimated to have been responsible for eight per cent of global deforestation between 1990 and 2008, with tens of thousands of the now critically endangered orangutans being killed as a result.

Watch the banned advert here: