A British supermarket chain’s touching Christmas advertising campaign has been ruled too “political” for broadcast.
The Iceland supermarket ad, which highlights the destruction of rainforests for palm oil production, was originally created for Greenpeace.
Iceland, which has a partnership with Greenpeace, was given permission to place its logo on the commercial and run it as part of the store’s Christmas campaign.
However, a bid to broadcast the ad on commercial television was blocked.
Clearcast, the body responsible for approving advertising material on behalf of Britain’s major commercial television networks, said the clip was assessed against the rules of the UK Code of Broadcast Advertising.
It pointed to a rule that states that: “An advertisement contravenes the prohibition on political advertising if it is: An advertisement which is inserted by or on behalf of a body whose objects are wholly or mainly of a political nature.”
Clearcast made no judgment on the ad’s content or message.
On Friday, Iceland launched a social media campaign pointing followers to the full-length ad online.
By Monday morning, the ad had been viewed more than 2.9 million times on Iceland Foods’ YouTube channel.
Reposts of the clip have been watched hundreds of thousands of times across various social media platforms.
Watch the banned advert below:
And an online petition to have the ad appear on commercial television has attracted nearly 600,000 signatures.
Mark Topps, who launched the petition, said: “As a father of three who thinks this ad would help educate people about how their products are killing orang-utans and their homes, I feel banning this advert is an injustice”.
Richard Walker, the son of Iceland’s founder, told Britain’s Guardian newspaper the company was “not anti-palm oil”. However, it was against deforestation.
“We think this is a huge story that needs to be told,” Mr Walker said.
“We always knew there was a risk [the clip would not be cleared for TV] but we gave it our best shot.”
Clearcast pointed out that ad was not technically banned, but rather had not been approved for broadcast.
“Clearcast is not a regulator and we do not ban ads,” a statement from the body said.