The competition for best Christmas advert has been raging through Novembers and Decembers for years now, but in 2018, the frozen food company Iceland have caused a stir by taking such a strong political stand that their Christmas advert has been banned from television entirely.
Through this may seem like a PR disaster for the company, it can actually be considered a wonderful triumph for both Iceland and the cause for which they’re fighting.
The advert shows the devastating effects of deforestation for the cultivation of palm oil. An animated short film, the advert poetically shares the story of a young girl who has an orangutan in her bedroom. She wonders why he’s there, until he tells her of the humans that invaded his space in the same way, but also took his mother and his home. Watch below:
This heart-breaking video was rebadged as an Iceland advert after Iceland struck a deal with Greenpeace to advance their stand against palm oil (the company had already sworn off palm oil in April of this year).
Orangutans have been classified as a critically endangered species and while many companies have ignored the issue, Iceland have stood by their ethics and values on this one. For instance, in the face of their banned advert, you can open the Iceland website and immediately see this:
Creating a banner for your “as not seen on TV” advert is a bold move for such a large company, but it strengthens their position as millions of people believe in their efforts too.
In addition to this, Iceland have created a whole Christmas range of palm oil free products, which can easily be found by using the 🐵 emoji in their website search bar or by clicking here.
All-in-all, the fact that Clearcast banned this advert for being “too political” has in no way hindered its effect on those that have seen the advert anyway, and in fact, it can be said that banning the advert has actually meant that even more people have seen the viral video and come together to be outraged at palm oil deforestation.
All of this comes after another viral video hit the world in June this year too. This, too, is heart-breaking, so please watch under that advisory:
So, what are Iceland going to do now?
Well, it’s been reported that they will show shorter, less intense clips of the advert on television, still highlighting the palm oil free products. In terms of the environment in general, the Iceland website states that they are cutting out palm oil entirely and are reducing their use of plastics to 0% plastic by 2023.
In terms of Public Relations, this world-changing campaign is a great example of how a company doing the right thing can overcome being banned by mainstream media. If a message is good enough or causes enough of a stir in the public eye, the story will get out into the world, no matter who tries to stop it.
The same can be said about negative stories, but all I have to say on this subject is: Well done, Iceland. I’m with you 100% on this one!