The supermarket chain, Iceland, have had their Christmas advert banned from TV for being ‘too political’, which goes against the Broadcast Code of Advertising Practice.
While the advert may have been banned from TV, the Greenpeace-made animation was still released on social media and has since been viewed over 12 million times.
Narrated by Emma Thompson, the animation tells the story of a little girl who is living with a destructive baby orangutan called Rang-Tan.
The cute animation soon takes a dark turn when the little girl asks Rang-Tan why he’s in her bedroom and he reveals the story of how his home in the rainforest was destroyed by humans.
The ad contains distressing scenes of Rang-tan and his mother running away from harvesting trucks before suggesting the mother ape is about to be killed.
The ad ends with a message highlighting Iceland’s commitment to removing palm oil from all its products by the end of 2018 and encourages consumers to boycott palm oil this festive season.
Palm oil is a relatively cheap ingredient that is made from the fleshy fruit of oil palms. Shockingly, palm oil is used in so many products that we consume in our day to day life, from chocolate to shampoo. The huge demand for this type of oil has led to the death of over 50,000 Orangutans. The Bornean Orangutan is now a critically endangered species and faces extinction should unsustainable deforestation not stop.
For the consumer, it can be incredibly difficult to spot which products include palm oil as it can be listed as generic terms such as vegetable fat, vegetable oil, palm kernel oil, glyceryl and so much more.
This lack of transparency to the consumer has led to Iceland’s decision to cut out palm oil from it’s stores. Richard Walker, Iceland’s Managing Director has said “Until Iceland can guarantee palm oil is not causing rainforest destruction, we are simply saying ‘no to palm oil’. We don’t believe there is such a thing as ‘sustainable’ palm oil available to retailers, so we are giving consumers a choice about what they buy.”
Hopefully, the huge viral success of this campaign will lead to real change in consumers buying habits. If we demand palm oil free products it may lead to more retailers following in Iceland’s footsteps. But only time will tell.