It’s that time of the year, with pumpkins burnt out the Christmas cheer has begun, in November. Don’t even get me started on Christmas…in NOVEMBER. But, *deep breath* that isn’t what this article is about.
Our major retailers battle it out for the best Christmas advert each year, one that tugs on the public’s heart strings while those on a purses loosen.
This year it seems we already have a clear winner as Iceland released their seasonal ad, topically following last month’s UN report warning that we have 12 years to stop irreversible damage to the Earth.
The animated short film featured a playful orangutan mourning the loss of his home – the rain-forest. Voiced by Emma Thompson the contention was to announce that Iceland has become the first major UK supermarket to remove palm oil from all of its own-brand products.
Iceland seized the opportunity to raise awareness and politically educate the public all while increasing sales in time for Christmas. But, nearly one month to the day since the UN warning was released, the new advert has been banned for being too political. Apparently, saving the planet is too political.
Palm oil is one of the most unsustainable products on the high-street and contributes to habitat loss and the endangerment of species such as: elephants, rhinos and of-course, orangutans.
The banning by Clearcast has been widely criticised, they approve ads on behalf of broadcasters including Sky, Channel 4 and ITV.
Clearcast said it couldn’t clear the Iceland ad as it breaches the rules of the Broadcast Code of Advertising Practise. The Advertising Standards Authority, which has the power to pass judgement on Clearcast’s decisions has decided to not act on the ban of the ad, claiming they have “no rule” in this case.
However, the regulatory body seemingly no longer hold the power as LADBible reported the start of a petition driven by social media to get the ad on our screens in time for Christmas. Social media is a powerful tool that everyone from the millennial’s to high profile celebrities intend to use and implement.
— LADbible (@ladbible) November 9, 2018
Though the ad is off our TV screens it is now trending across all social media outlets. Rather than protecting the public from strong political messages being forced upon them Clearcast have instead prevented and stolen the crucial message being broadcast to millions of viewers. Many of which buy products containing palm oil without realising the devastation they’re feeding all while starving orangutans.
The Guardian reported: “Protecting and restoring forests would achieve 18% of the emissions mitigation needed by 2030 to avoid irreversible climate change, a group of 40 scientists said last month.”
Iceland’s Christmas campaign was second in command leading the way towards a movement, only following the statistics revealing the devastation that lies ahead if we do not take action now. Iceland will be the first major supermarket to stop using palm oil as an ingredient in all its own label products by the end of 2018.
However, Iceland did not take the banning lying down. Instead they’ve uploaded the ad to YouTube.
Iceland’s managing director, Richard Walker, says its Christmas ad was the retailer’s “first chance to prove we can put commercial interests to the side in order to make the changes required to save our planet in the aftermath of the landmark UN report”. But, he says, it failed.
Iceland may be the first of a retail led attempt to save the planet, as it will take every shop, household and person to make the changes the world so desperately needs and what the public want.
This banned Iceland advert has generated huge social media numbers and been seen by millions of eyeballs…precisely because it was banned. Power of social media right there… pic.twitter.com/O5EYov24DY
— Jake Humphrey (@mrjakehumphrey) November 10, 2018
Each year John Lewis has been the one to beat, but, maybe Iceland has changed the game. Arguably, without the ban the message wouldn’t have been so strong and has only driven the public towards sharing, streaming and actually listening to the ad.