Iceland was set for one of the most striking Christmas campaigns among UK retailers with a plan to air a version of Greenpeace animation "Rang-tan", created by Mother – but was forced to change course after Clearcast said it would be in breach of the BCAP Code.
The supermarket had been working with Greenpeace on plans to remove palm oil from its own-label products by the end of this year. The environmental impact of palm oil, which threatens orangutan habitats, is the subject of the film, which has provoked huge public interest since its launch in August.
According to a spokeswoman for Clearcast, it had been unable to clear the ad because it was "concerned that it doesn’t comply with the political rules of the BCAP Code". She added: "The creative submitted to us is linked to another organisation who have not yet been able to demonstrate compliance in this area."
Neil Hayes, marketing director at Iceland, said the retailer would still be on TV in the run-up to Christmas with more conventional, product-led advertising, which will launch later in the month. This was created by Karmarama, the agency with which Iceland has just parted ways.
Meanwhile, Iceland’s version of "Rang-tan" – which is the same as the original, with the exception of the closing messages – will be available to view on YouTube.
Iceland had been attracted to the film because of its production quality and because it "portrays a very serious issue in a really clear and emotionally connecting way", Hayes said. But he noted: "In the fullness of time, we’ll find other ways to communicate what is something that we really believe in."
Richard Walker, Iceland's managing director, added: "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. Our commitment to help protect the home of orangutans remains extremely close to our hearts."