Banned Iceland Commercial Goes Viral After Millions Show Support Online

British supermarket chain Iceland recently had their Christmas commercial banned from airing on television after it had been deemed to breach political advertising rules. As part of a wider campaign in partnership with Greenpeace, the short animation made by creative agency Mother tells the heartbreaking story of a baby orangutan called “Rang-tan” who shows up in a little girl’s bedroom after escaping rainforest destruction caused by palm oil growers.

Palm oil can be found in almost everything, including shampoo, detergents, and food products. Its production causes great environmental damage and is estimated to result in the death of 25 orangutans every day, wiping out their entire habitats, and driving them to extinction. Narrated by Emma Thompson, the Rang-tan animation was made to raise awareness on the issue and to pressure major brands to keep their promise to remove palm oil from their supply chains by 2020. Being one of the pioneering companies to do so, Iceland got permission to use the film as part of their Christmas campaign. Iceland’s founder Malcolm Walker said, “It would have blown the John Lewis ad out of the window. It was so emotional.”

Clearcast—the company responsible for vetting ads before they are broadcast to the public—said the conservation ad breached the rules of the 2003 Communications Act. “Clearcast and the broadcasters have to date been unable to clear this Iceland ad because we [are] concerned that it doesn’t comply with the political rules of the BCAP code,” said a spokeswoman for the company. “The creative submitted to us is linked to another organisation who have not yet been able to demonstrate compliance in this area.”

However, since tweeting about the issue, Iceland’s Rang-tan animation has been viewed and shared by millions of online supporters. On Twitter, many celebrities have been petitioning in favor of the ad, including comedian and TV host James Corden, who tweeted “I think everyone should see it.” Meanwhile, a petition—created in support of the ad and it being televised—has gained more than 700,000 signatures.

“It’s been fantastic to see the story being widely shared and an overwhelmingly positive response for what is a really important message,” said Iceland marketing director Neil Hayes. “We’ve been able to reach a huge number of customers without TV advertising, thanks to the level of support from campaigners, celebrities, the media and of course the public.”

This emotional Iceland commercial was banned from airing on TV after it had been deemed to breach political advertising rules.

Viral Banned Commercial by Iceland

However, since tweeting about the issue, Iceland’s Rang-tan animation has been viewed and shared by millions of supporters, including many celebrities.

Iceland: Website | Facebook | Instagram | Twitter | YouTube
h/t: [ADWEEK, campaign]

All images via Iceland.

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Emma Taggart

Emma Taggart is a Contributing Writer at My Modern Met. Originally from Northern Ireland, she is an artist now based in Berlin. After graduating with a BA in Fashion and Textile Design in 2013, Emma decided to combine her love of art with her passion for writing. Emma has contributed to various art and culture publications, with an aim to promote and share the work of inspiring modern creatives. While she writes every day, she’s also devoted to her own creative outlet—Emma hand-draws illustrations and is currently learning 2D animation.
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