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Iceland Christmas advert blocked from TV for being too political

The commercial, starring Emma Thompson and produced by Greenpeace, was adjudged to break rules on political advertising.

Supermarket Iceland has seen its Christmas advert blocked from TV screens for being too political.

The commercial, voiced by actress Emma Thompson and originally produced by Greenpeace, features a cartoon orangutan and highlights the plight of the rainforest.

Clearcast, the body which approves or rejects adverts for broadcast on television and video on demand, said it was “concerned” that the commercial “doesn’t comply” with legislation on political advertising.

It added that Greenpeace had “not yet been able to demonstrate compliance in this area”.

Since Iceland posted the “banned” video online it has since received thousands of shares on social media, which is not regulated in the same way.

The company tweeted: “You won’t see our Christmas advert on TV this year, because it was banned. But we want to share Rang-tan’s story with you… Will you help us share the story?”

The advert focuses on the impact of palm oil on deforestation, and follows the supermarket’s decision to remove the product from all its own-label food by the end of 2018.

Greenpeace said the commercial was not originally intended for television, but neither they or Clearcast were able to immediately confirm whether it had been previously submitted for broadcast clearance.

The charity was said it is unable advertise on television due to cost and difficulties with approval.

A spokesman added: “Mother, the creative agency which produced the video, submitted the Rang-tan script to Clearcast in July to test the system again and see if there was an option for us to advertise as part of our campaign alongside planned cinema screenings and social media. It was rejected because of the name Greenpeace.

“Working with Mother, Iceland submitted Rang-tan as their advert for Christmas but we weren’t involved in the negotiations.”

Iceland said it had spent £500,000 on putting its campaign together and insisted it had booked a number of prime-time TV slots with the full intention of having it cleared to air over Christmas.

Richard Walker, managing director at Iceland, said: “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.”

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