The animated spot for British grocer Iceland and its private brand shows an orangutan making a child’s bedroom its home after its mother and rainforest home were destroyed by palm oil harvesters. Such destruction has contributed to the critically endangered status of orangutans.
British regulator Clearcast, which reviews and approves British TV commercials, said the spot violates a rule established by the 2003 Communications Act that bans political advertising from ads.
The bold commercial was released last week as the retailers Christmas advertisement. It was originally created by environmental group Greenpeace.
The ad, features the voice of British actress Emma Thompson, reaffirms the retailer’s recent pledge to remove palm oil from all of its private brand products. This year, it encourages shoppers to have “a Christmas without palm oil.”
Richard Walker, Managing Director at Iceland 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.
“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. Our commitment to help protect the home of orangutans remains extremely close to our hearts. 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.”
Iceland, is offering consumers an orangutan friendly Christmas range. The range has been carefully crafted, with recipes reworked to ensure that the removal of palm oil has no effect on quality or taste.
Iceland made the decision to demonstrate to the food and retail industries that it is possible to reduce the demand for palm oil until the industry stops destroying the rainforests by seeking alternative ingredients. Growing demand for palm oil for use in food products, cosmetics and biodiesel is devastating tropical rainforests across South East Asia. Expanding palm oil and wood pulp plantations are the biggest driver of deforestation, many species are being threatened with extinction, including the orangutan, already critically endangered.