Friday 9 November 2018 12:52 pm

Iceland's palm oil Christmas ad banned for being 'too political'

Iceland has had to pull its eagerly-anticipated Christmas advert from the nation’s TV screens for breaching political advertising rules.

The festive clip, which tells the story of deforestation caused by palm oil production through an animated short film about an orangutan, was made in a deal that Iceland struck with campaign group Greenpeace.

However, the promotion will no longer be aired after regulators decided that the tie-up with Greenpeace breached advertising rules.

The discount grocer, which earlier this year become the first major UK supermarket chain to promise it would scrap products that contained palm oil from its shelves, will now launch the ad on Youtube instead.

Managing director Richard Walker 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."

He added: "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 will still be placing TV ads, but only 10-second clips that will highlight palm oil-free products.

Public calls to reduce palm oil in consumer products have mounted over the last several years, as rainforest destruction in areas like Malaysia lead to major threats to the survival of orangutans.