Iceland’s Christmas advert banned from TV for being too political

Ninety second animated short is a repurposed Greenpeace video

Colin Drury
Saturday 10 November 2018 08:39
Comments
Rang-tan: Iceland’s banned TV Christmas advert protests palm oil industry

It was a Christmas advert which bosses at supermarket chain Iceland said would have “blown the John Lewis ad out the window”.

But a major campaign for the discount store has been banned – after it was deemed to have breached political impartiality rules.

The animated short featured an orangutan mourning the loss of his rainforest home, and was voiced by the actress Emma Thompson. Its contention was to show how Iceland has become the first major UK supermarket to remove palm oil – a major cause of deforestation – from all its own-brand products.

However, regulators were concerned by the fact the 90-second film is actually a repurposed Greenpeace video.

“This was a film that Greenpeace made with a voiceover by Emma Thompson,” said Iceland’s 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.”

Clearcast, the body responsible for vetting ads, said it was in breach of rules laid down by the 2003 Communications Act. One of the law’s stipulations is that a promotional campaign is prohibited if it is “directed towards a political end”.

“Clearcast and the broadcasters have to date been unable to clear this because we are concerned that it doesn’t comply with the political rules of the BCAP [the broadcast code for advertising practice],” said a spokeswoman. “The creative submitted to us is linked to another organisation who have not yet been able to demonstrate compliance in this area.”

Iceland said it will still be placing TV ads, but only 10-second clips that will highlight palm oil-free products.

Support free-thinking journalism and attend Independent events

“We wanted [the Greenpeace film] to be our signature campaign,” said Richard Walker, Malcolm’s son, who has led Iceland’s environmental campaigning. “We have said repeatedly we are not anti-palm oil, we are anti-deforestation.”

Register for free to continue reading

Registration is a free and easy way to support our truly independent journalism

By registering, you will also enjoy limited access to Premium articles, exclusive newsletters, commenting, and virtual events with our leading journalists

Please enter a valid email
Please enter a valid email
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Please enter your first name
Special characters aren’t allowed
Please enter a name between 1 and 40 characters
Please enter your last name
Special characters aren’t allowed
Please enter a name between 1 and 40 characters
You must be over 18 years old to register
You must be over 18 years old to register
Opt-out-policy
You can opt-out at any time by signing in to your account to manage your preferences. Each email has a link to unsubscribe.

By clicking ‘Create my account’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Already have an account? sign in

By clicking ‘Register’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Register for free to continue reading

Registration is a free and easy way to support our truly independent journalism

By registering, you will also enjoy limited access to Premium articles, exclusive newsletters, commenting, and virtual events with our leading journalists

Already have an account? sign in

By clicking ‘Register’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Join our new commenting forum

Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies

Comments

Thank you for registering

Please refresh the page or navigate to another page on the site to be automatically logged inPlease refresh your browser to be logged in