A supermarket releasing their Christmas themed advert is now a major part of the festive season.
Retailers are locked in an arms race spending larger and larger budgets on the blockbuster adverts – from John Lewis to Asda.
And in recent years Iceland has been no different – but this year the supermarket’s advert will not appear on TV alongside those of other leading retailers.
This is because it has been banned from our screens by advertising regulators.
Iceland had hoped to use the short film Rang-tan as its Christmas advert for 2018.
The bold emotive animation is inspired by the retailers commitment to remove palm oil from all its own label food by the end of this year, in response to continued deforestation in South East Asia
In Rang-Tan, a little girl finds an orangutan in her bedroom and she doesn’t ‘know what to do’. The Rang-Tan is borrowing her shoes and ‘howling’ at her shampoo.
The advert then goes on to chart 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 per cent 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.
Clearcast, the body which approves or rejects adverts for broadcast on television and video on demand, said it was ‘concerned’ that the commercial ‘doesn't comply’ with legislation on political advertising.
Due to Greenpeace's involvement in the advert – having originally produced the footage.
The advert is voiced by actress Emma Thompson.
But now Iceland are releasing the advert online so that it can still be seen.
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.
For more information about the Iceland Christmas range and the palm oil commitment please visit https://www.iceland.co.uk