Voiced by Emma Thompson, Iceland Food’s Christmas advert highlights the devastation caused by palm oil producers, yet ends up getting banned for being too political.
UN recently issued a warning stating that we only have 12 years to stop irreversible damage to the Earth, and while significant retailers across the globe were busy creating saccharine Christmas ads to make us cry, Iceland thought of acquainting us with the ground reality. With the video, they announced their decision to stop using palm oil as an ingredient in all their label products by the end of 2018, which going by the number of products is a significant move for the supermarket chain.
The short film created by Greenpeace, an environmental NGO, and repackaged by Iceland showcases the sad plight of an Orangutan whose rainforest habitat got destroyed due to palm oil growers. Clearcast – an organization that approves ads on behalf of broadcasters, decided to prevent this crucial message from being shown to millions of viewers who inadvertently buy products containing palm oil not knowing the environmental damage its causing. In their defense, Clearcast came up with a statement that they were concerned about the commercial not complying with legislation on political advertising.
For years, in this battle to save the environment, politics has always been the clear winner.
Following the ban, Iceland uploaded the video on YouTube along with a tweet stating that “While 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.” Post this, thousands came out in their support and shared the commercial across on social media. Iceland’s managing director, Richard Walker, said this Christmas ad was the retailer’s “first chance to prove we can put commercial interests to the side in order to make the changes required to save our planet in the aftermath of the landmark UN report.”
Businesses play a massive role in enabling social change, and Iceland with this advertisement has managed to gather a lot of attention towards the right cause. In doing so, they have set a shining example of how a retailer can attempt to heal the planet.