How being banned from TV got supermarket ad seen by everybody

The launch of Christmas adverts – mainly tv commercials – attract a lot of attention every year in the UK. Traditionally department store, John Lewis, has been the one to lead the way with supermarkets, Sainsbury’s and Waitrose, putting up fierce competition.┬áThe biggest ad agencies hope to get the chance to come up with something that will get us all talking, from the entertaining to the tear-jerkers and the ones supporting charities. But this year supermarket chain, Iceland, may have taken home the prize for most talked about commercial. How? They got their ad banned from tv.

Using a version of a short film previously released by Greenpeace to draw attention to the consequences of the use of palm oil in many consumer products, Iceland wished to draw attention to their commitment to the environment; part of which was banning palm oil in their own-brand products earlier this year.

The only problem? According to the UK governing body, Clearcast, the commercial failed to comply with the Communications Act of 2003 that prohibits adverts directed towards a political end and as a result the ad was banned from airing.

Fortunately we live in a multi-channel age and the ad was released online instead. Few UK Christmas commercials have received as much global attention as this 2018 commercial from Iceland; a supermarket that has not previously succeeded in creating high-profile Christmas commercials.

Perhaps this marks the beginning of Iceland taking more and even bolder steps to use their ad spend for good? And inspiring others to do the same?

Check out the commercial below:


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