Iceland’s ‘environmental’ Christmas ad can’t be shown on TV due to broadcasting code rules

The animation narrated by Emma Thompson has been pulled for breaching “political rules”

An Iceland supermarket lorry passes a section of icicles and ice-covered hedgerow caused by a water splashed from the roadside near Hazeley Bottom, south of Reading, on March 27, 2013. Britain is in the grip of what the media has dubbed "Miserable March", an unseasonal cold snap that threatens to bring the UK a White Easter. AFP PHOTO / ADRIAN DENNIS        (Photo credit should read ADRIAN DENNIS/AFP/Getty Images) TL

A Christmas TV advert from supermarket Iceland has been effectively banned for not complying with “political rules”.

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The festive campaign uses an animated Greenpeace film that raises awareness of the negative impact of palm oil use.

Although Greenpeace is only a campaigning group, the Broadcast Code of Advertising Practice states that its political rules apply “in a wider sense than ‘party political'” and that a commercial may not be “inserted by or on behalf of a body whose objects are wholly or mainly of a political nature” or have “a connection with an industrial dispute”.

The 90-second short, narrated by Emma Thompson, follows a baby orangutan causing havoc in a girl’s bedroom before the animal explains its rainforest was destroyed by palm oil growers.

Clearcast, the regulator responsible for vetting adverts before they’re shown on TV, said in a statement: “Clearcast and the broadcasters have to date been unable to clear an ad for Iceland because we are concerned that it doesn’t comply with the political rules of the BCAP code.”

The supermarket aimed to use the advert to highlight its pledge to remove palm oil from its own-label products by the end of 2018.

A cheap and mass-produced ingredient, palm oil is used in a wide range of products, from shampoo to chocolate, and is responsible for extensive deforestation in south-east Asia.

Richard Walker, Managing Director at Iceland said: “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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He added: “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.”


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