Iceland's Christmas Advert Was Scrapped Because It Was Too Controversial

Just as Christmas Day means turkey and crackers, the festive season also means retailers spending hundreds of thousands to perfect their festive commercials.

Just think about the hype around John Lewis - people actually sob at that shit. Recently Aldi was accused of copying Coca Cola's TV advert. Christmas TV adverts are a big deal.

But Iceland's Christmas ad is getting more attention than any of them - specifically because it hasn't even been allowed on TV.

It was scrapped by the body responsible for giving ads the green light - who said there were concerns that it 'doesn't comply with political rules'.

Iceland countered that it was raising awareness about an 'important global issue' - with a very cute primate to help spread the message.

Earlier this year, Iceland committed itself to removing palm oil from all its own label food by the end of 2018 in response to the continued deforestation in South East Asia.

As the retailer nears completion of the project, offering consumers the choice of an orangutan friendly Christmas, it had planned for a Christmas advert to raise awareness.

You were getting so weighed down with Christmas sandwiches, pumpkin spice lattes and Primark jumpers that you forgot all about palm oil consumption.

Iceland raising awareness of palm oil consumption. Credit: Iceland
Iceland raising awareness of palm oil consumption. Credit: Iceland

Iceland's 2018 Christmas range features more than 100 food lines that don't use palm oil as an ingredient, such as the supermarket's Salted Caramel Christmas Tree Cheesecake, Luxury Jumbo Coated Wild Red Shrimp Selection and Luxury Black Forest Layered Pavlova.

Their advertisement is an animation telling the story of rainforest destruction caused by palm oil production, and its devastating impact on the critically endangered orangutan.

It was hoped that the advert would improve shoppers' understanding of the widespread rainforest destruction for palm oil production, which appears in more than 50% of all supermarket products.

The advert would have seen Iceland committing more than half a million pou­­­­­­nds of media spend to ensure that it was seen by millions of consumers - a bold move away from the usual commercial, product-led advertising in order to highlight an important issue causing climate change and biodiversity loss.

Iceland's ad was telling the story of rainforest destruction caused by palm oil production. Credit: Iceland
Iceland's ad was telling the story of rainforest destruction caused by palm oil production. Credit: Iceland

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.

"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.

"Our commitment to help protect the home of orangutans remains extremely close to our hearts. We are proud to be encouraging consumers to make more sustainable choices, even without the support of TV advertising, ahead of the Christmas shopping season."

Iceland's Christmas TV advert banned after concerns that it doesn't comply with political rules. Credit: Iceland
Iceland's Christmas TV advert banned after concerns that it doesn't comply with political rules. Credit: Iceland

A spokesperson for Clearcast, the body responsible for clearing TV ads, said: "Clearcast and the broadcasters have to date been unable to clear an ad for Iceland ad because we are 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."

Part of the code covers subject matter that is deemed 'political and controversial.'

Political and controversial matters

Political and controversial matters

Featured Image Credit: Iceland

Rebecca Shepherd

Rebecca Shepherd is a Journalist at LADbible. She graduated from the University of Central Lancashire with a First Class BA in Journalism. Becky previously worked as Chief Reporter at Cavendish Press, supplying news and feature stories to national newspapers and women's magazines.

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