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Iceland’s Christmas advert is ‘banned’ before it goes on TV but you can watch it here

PUBLISHED: 15:35 09 November 2018 | UPDATED: 15:35 09 November 2018

Iceland's Christmas TV ad has been banned as

Iceland's Christmas TV ad has been banned as "too political" (C) Iceland


Frozen food firm Iceland’s Christmas advertisement about the plight of orang-utans has been declared too political to be shown on TV. But was it all a clever plan to spread Iceland’s no-palm-oil message as far and wide as possible?

Iceland's new Christmas TV ad has been banned for being too political (C) IcelandIceland's new Christmas TV ad has been banned for being too political (C) Iceland

Iceland’s emotional Christmas advertisement featuring a cartoon orang-utan has been banned from television for being “too political” – a vetting body says it cannot clear the Greenpeace-made film which highlights the plight of the orang-utan because it breaches guidelines.

The advertisement begins like a children’s cartoon narrated by Emma Thompson but quickly turns into a stark exploration of the damage that humans are wreaking on the natural habitat of the orang-utan as we learn that 25 die every day due to the destruction of the rainforest.

Advertising body Clearcast said the organisation hadn’t banned the short film but that it couldn’t clear it to run on TV as it is breaches the rules of the Broadcast Code of Advertising Practice which stops companies from broadcasting political adverts. Iceland is highlighting the fact that it is committed to removing palm oil from all its own-brand foods by the end of 2018.

This begs the question: did the creative team that made the advert REALLY not know they were breaching the code, or did they realise it would ensure the advertisement would gain even more coverage?

The cartoon begins as a baby orang-utan makes a mess of a little girl’s bedroom, much to her annoyance. She asks her to leave and, as she goes, asks why she came to visit her in the first place. At this point, the colour drains from the screen and we see the rainforest being destroyed by machinery.

“There’s a human in my forest and I don’t know what to do,” the creature tells the little girl, “they destroyed all of our trees for your food and your shampoo. There’s a human in my forsest and I don’t know what to do. He took away my mother and I’m scared he will take me too. There are humans in my forest and I don’t know what to do. They’re burning it for palm oil so I thought I’d stay with you…”

Answering the distraught baby ape, the little girl says: “Oh Rang-tan in my bedroom now I do know what to do, I’ll fight to save your home and I’ll stop you feeling blue. I’ll share your story far and wide so that others can fight too. Oh Rang-tan in my bedroom I swear it on the stars, the future’s not yet written, but I’ll make sure that it is ours.”

Iceland’s managing director Richard Walker 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.”

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