Iceland: Say hello to Rang-tan – Banned 2018 TV Christmas Advert

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Supermarket Iceland’s 2018 Christmas commercial is one of the most widely discussed Christmas advert of the year. The 90-second animated short voiced by Emma Thompson and made in collaboration with Greenpeace was banned on TV as regulators said the film is actually a repurposed Greenpeace video and deemed to have breached political impartiality rules. Regulators declare that Iceland’s 2018 Christmas commercial was in breach of rules laid down by the 2003 Communications Act that stipulate that a promotional campaign is prohibited if it is “directed towards a political end”.

Iceland’s message of this commercial is: “You won’t see our Christmas advert on TV this year. We want to share our ‘No Palm Oil’ story with you this Christmas. Say hello to Rang-tan.

A petition to overturn the ban on Iceland’s Christmas advert has amassed over 1,030,000 signatures.

Iceland shuns commercial, product-led adverts in favour of lead Christmas campaign to highlight an important rainforest issue

Retailer Christmas adverts have been the source of much anticipation in the weeks building up to the big day in recent years, with retailers blowing their advertising budgets to ensure their advert becomes the most talked about of the season.

For many consumers, the first screenings of the biggest adverts now herald the start of the festive build-up, a key milestone in the Christmas calendar. However, this year, Iceland’s advert will not appear on TV alongside those of other leading retailers – as its anticipated advert hasn’t made it to our screens. Following a year of leading the retail industry in sustainability initiatives, Iceland had elected to do something different with its advertising spend.

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

The retailer had hoped to use a short film, Rang-tan, as its main Christmas advert. Rang-tan is an emotive 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 over 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. However, this may have proven a brave step too far as the advert was banned by advertising regulators.

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, the UK’s leading frozen food specialist, is offering consumers an orangutan friendly Christmas range. The range has been carefully crafted, with recipes reworked to ensure that the removal of palm oil has no effect on quality or taste. Iceland made the decision to demonstrate to the food and retail industries that it is possible to reduce the demand for palm oil until the industry stops destroying the rainforests by seeking alternative ingredients. Growing demand for palm oil for use in food products, cosmetics and biodiesel is devastating tropical rainforests across South East Asia. Expanding palm oil and wood pulp plantations are the biggest driver of deforestation, many species are being threatened with extinction, including the orangutan, already critically endangered.

As not seen on TV


Bold advert.

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