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Iceland Christmas ad on orangutan plight banned for political rule breach

11:37 am, 9th November 2018

The discount supermarket chain planned to use a Greenpeace-made animated short film, about the destruction of the rainforest caused by palm oil production, and its devastating impact on the critically endangered orangutan.

Earlier this year, the major food retailer committed to remove palm oil from all its own-brand foods by the end of 2018.

Iceland had wanted to make the Emma Thompson-voiced film, Rang-tan, central to its festive marketing campaign to raise awareness among shoppers.

But Clearcast, the body responsible for vetting ads before they are broadcast, has said it has been unable to clear it because it breached the political rules set out in the broadcast code for advertising practice (BCAP).

Under this code an advert is deemed to contravene the bar on political advertising if it is “inserted by or on behalf of a body whose objects are wholly or mainly of a political nature” or is “directed towards a political end”.

Iceland’s managing director Richard Walker said: “Throughout 2018 we have led the retail industry to take action in areas such as rainforest destruction for palm oil and plastic pollution of our oceans.

“This year we were keen to do something different with our much anticipated Christmas advert. The culmination of our palm oil project is offering our customers the choice of an orangutan friendly Christmas, and we wanted to reflect this in our advertising.”

He added: “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.”

Clearcast declined to speak to Sky News, but in a statement said: “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 creative submitted to us is linked to another organisation who have not yet been able to demonstrate compliance in this area.”