Banned Iceland palm oil Christmas ad 'too political'

Iceland Christmas

Iceland Christmas

Watch the banned advert below.

It tells the story of rainforest destruction caused by palm oil production, and its devastating impact on the endangered orangutan.

'Retailer Christmas adverts have been the source of much anticipation in the weeks building up to the big day in recent years, with retailers blowing their advertising budgets to ensure their advert becomes the most talked about of the season.

Iceland said it had spent £500,000 on putting its campaign together and insisted it had booked a number of prime-time TV slots with the full intention of having it cleared to air over Christmas.

Following a year of leading the retail industry in sustainability initiatives, Iceland had elected to do something different with its advertising spend.

Iceland is highlighting the fact that it is committed to removing palm oil from all its own-brand foods by the end of 2018.

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Now, if they really wanted to pull a John Lewis (that's the United Kingdom retailer, not the American congressman and civil rights icon), we'll be seeing Iceland-branded plush Rang-Tan toys under the tree.

Answering the distraught baby ape, the little girl says: "Oh Rang-tan in my bedroom now I do know what to do, I'll fight to save your home and I'll stop you feeling blue".

Palm oil is one of Malaysia's biggest exports worth around £17bn a year but the growing backlash over the destruction of Asia's biodiversity has sparked an angry response from farmers; who already see their livelihoods under threat from an European Union ban on palm oil in biofuels in 2020.

However, this may have proven a fearless step too far as the advert was banned by advertising regulators'. "We have said repeatedly we are not anti-palm oil, we are anti-deforestation".

"It's been banned, so you're not going to see it on TV", he told the BBC. "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".

Iceland's founder Malcolm Walker said: "This was a film that Greenpeace made with a voice over by Emma Thompson".

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