Northern Ireland news

Petition to 'unban' Iceland's Christmas palm oil ad gains 600,000 signatures

An image from Iceland's Christmas ad campaign when was not approved for broadcast on television

AN ONLINE petition calling for food retailer Iceland's 'banned' Christmas TV advert to be aired has gained more than 600,000 signatures.

The advert uses an animation by environmental campaigners Greenpeace highlighting the impact on the orangutan of rainforest destruction for the production of palm oil.

But it was not approved by the body which assesses adverts against the UK Code of Broadcast Advertising after being deemed 'too political'.

Clearcast said it "contravened the prohibition on political advertising", which includes ads "inserted by or on behalf of a body whose objects are wholly or mainly of a political nature" – referring to its Greenpeace origins.

Iceland posted the unapproved ad online last Thursday and it has since received more than 12 million views on Facebook and three million on YouTube.

A petition on urging Clearcast to overturn its decision says the advertisement is "emotional, touching and helps to spread a message about saving the environment".

"Please sign this petition if you too believe the ban should be overturned so that this ad can be on TV screens at Christmas," the petition reads.

Iceland managing director Richard Walker said he was disappointed the ad would not be aired on television.

"We were told it was deemed too political, so we're absolutely gutted because we wanted to share this message far and wide and underline Iceland's commitment to remove palm oil from all of our products by the end of this year," he told the BBC.

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