Iceland advert banned

Tuesday 13th November 2018 | Jake

Iceland’s Christmas advert campaign has been banned from TV by Clearcast, the company that vets adverts for channels including Sky and ITV. The advert, which was produced by Greenpeace, is a short cartoon explaining the destruction to wildlife caused by palm oil.

Iceland recently pledged to remove palm oil from all of its own-brand products, a UK first for a major supermarket. Palm oil production is responsible for vast swathes of rainforest being destroyed, a key factor leading to the Orangutans new classification as a critically endangered species. The advert focuses on the plight of the Orangutan.



Clearcast vetoed the advert for breaking a rule in the 2003 Communications Act banning political adverts. Greenpeace, the environmentalist group, posted the video online in August, repackaging it for Iceland so it could air on TV. Clearcast has defended itself, insisting it was simply following the code of broadcast advertising and is not itself a regulator, like the Advertising Standards Authority.

The ASA has distanced itself from the controversy, saying it has “no role in the case. Unsurprisingly the controversial ban had the paradoxical effect of spreading its message, with a huge outpouring of support for Iceland and Greenpeace across social media and media outlets alike.

Research by Greenpeace found a mere 25 groups harvesting palm oil had together flattened more than 130,000 hectares of rainforest in just three years. In October a group of 40 scientists from five countries warned that deforestation was as important as reducing emissions in the fight against catastrophic climate change.