Watch the Iceland Christmas TV advert banned for being 'too political'

Daniel Fowler
November 10, 2018

Iceland's Christmas advert will not be airing on television this year because it has been deemed as being 'too political'.

The festive clip, which tells the story of deforestation caused by palm oil production through an animated short film about an orangutan, was made in a deal that Iceland struck with campaign group Greenpeace.

Clearcast, the body responsible for vetting ads before they are broadcast to the public, said it was in breach of rules banning political advertising laid down by the 2003 Communications Act.

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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".

Habitat loss has been cited as a major contributing factor to animals like orangutan's becoming classified as critically endangered.

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The advert fell afoul of a stipulation in the broadcast code for advertising practice (BCAP), that prohibits ads "directed towards a political end".

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

Unable to show the full animation, the brand will instead show 10-second clips that promote its palm oil-free products.

In addition, a Change.org petition calling on British Prime Minister Theresa May to "unban" the ad has already garnered nearly 3,500 signatures in the five hours since it was posted Friday morning. Narrated by Dame Emma Thompson, "Rang-Tan" tells the story of a little girl wondering why this baby orangutan has moved into her room.

Iceland said that it would have committed more than £500k of media spend to the advertising campaign.

In the advert, a digger is seen crashing through the orang-utan's forests and burning it for palm oil, which is used in products such as shampoos and food. "We always knew there was a risk but we gave it our best shot".

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