Iceland's Christmas TV ad banned for being too political

The short film highlights the impact of deforestation caused by palm oil production and its impact on the endangered orangutan

The short film highlights the impact of deforestation caused by palm oil production and its impact on the endangered orangutan

Clearcast said it rejected the Rang-tan advert on the grounds it does not comply with the political rules set out in the Broadcast Code of Advertising Practice (BCAP).

The discount grocer, which earlier this year become the first major United Kingdom supermarket chain to promise it would scrap products that contained palm oil from its shelves, will now launch the ad on Youtube instead.

Iceland had planned to make a splash this year in the hotly contested battle for the title of most memorable Christmas advert with a hard-hitting animated offering spotlighting the role of palm oil in driving rainforest destruction.

"This year we were keen to do something different with our much anticipated Christmas advert", said Richard Walker, managing director at Iceland. It would have blown the John Lewis ad out of the window.

Palm oil production is estimated to have been responsible for eight per cent of global deforestation between 1990 and 2008, with tens of thousands of the now critically endangered orangutans being killed as a result.

Under this code an advert is deemed to contravene the bar on political advertising if it is "inserted by or on behalf of a body whose objects are wholly or mainly of a political nature" or is "directed towards a political end".

Iceland founder Malcolm Walker said of the ad: "We got permission to use it and take off the Greenpeace logo and use it as the Iceland Christmas ad".

Iceland has opted instead to show 10-second clips to highlight its palm-oil free products though the widespread media coverage and banning may prove to be a pre-emptive strike on the Christmas market and a savvy piece of marketing strategy, especially given the seemingly prepared plan-B and the lightning-fast emergence of the '#NoPalmOilChristmas' hashtag.

It added that Greenpeace had "not yet been able to demonstrate compliance in this area". "We always knew there was a risk [the clip would not be cleared for TV] but we gave it our best shot".