A UK supermarket chain’s Christmas commercial that was banned for breaching political advertising rules has gone viral.
Discount supermarket chain Iceland struck a deal with Greenpeace to use the environmental organisation’s animated clip about an orangutan and the destruction of rainforests caused by the need for palm oil.
Iceland’s original tweet has been shared almost 90,000 times
Iceland was the first major British supermarket to pledge to remove palm oil from its own products earlier this year with habitat destruction in palm oil-producing countries like Malaysia a factor in the orangutan being classified as critically endangered.
Clearcast, the organisation which vets ads in the UK said the commercial breached rules banning political advertising.
“This was a film that Greenpeace made with a voice over 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.”
“We think this is a huge story that needs to be told. We always knew there was a risk [the ad would not be cleared] but we gave it our best shot.”
An ad is prohibited under UK codes for advertising practice if it is “directed towards a political end.”
“Clearcast and the broadcasters have to date been unable to clear this Iceland ad because we concerned that it doesn’t comply with the political rules of the BCAP code,” said a spokeswoman for Clearcast.
“The creative submitted to us is linked to another organisation who have not yet been able to demonstrate compliance in this area.”
Iceland will still have 10-second TV ads that will highlight its palm oil-free products.