Iceland Christmas campaign banned for being "too political"

Earlier this year, Iceland became the first major United Kingdom supermarket to pledge to remove palm oil from all its own-brand foods.

Iceland's Christmas ad, which is focused on the impact of palm oil on the environment, has been banned from TV for breaching political ad rules.

Public calls to reduce palm oil in consumer products have mounted over the last several years, as rainforest destruction in areas like Malaysia lead to major threats to the survival of orangutans.

Iceland raising awareness of palm oil consumption.

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.

According to the BCAP, commercial adverts prohibit "political advertising", including campaigning for the purposes of influencing legislation or executive action by local or national (including foreign) governments.

However, this year, Iceland's advert will not appear on TV alongside those of other leading retailers - as its anticipated advert hasn't made it to our screens.

But the advertising watchdog has deemed that the film breaks rules banning political advertising laid down by the 2003 Communications Act.

However, Iceland are clearly not happy with Clearcast's decision.

"This was a film that Greenpeace made with a voice over by Emma Thompson", said Iceland's founder, Malcolm Walker. "Our commitment to help protect the home of orangutans remains extremely close to our hearts".

A spokesman added: "Mother, the creative agency which produced the video, submitted the Rang-tan script to Clearcast in July to test the system again and see if there was an option for us to advertise as part of our campaign alongside planned cinema screenings and social media. 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".

Vanessa Coleman