You’ve got to admire some advertising campaigns, for both quality and sheer chutzpah. Iceland’s Palm Oil campaign Christmas advert is definitely both. It’s a lovely advert, with a good message as you can see:
The narrative they’ve gone with is:
the advert wasn’t approved by advertising regulators as it was seen to be in support of a political issue. The production and widespread usage of palm oil is a complex and sometimes controversial matter. 1/2— Iceland Foods ❄️ (@IcelandFoods) 10 November 2018
The Advertising Standards Authority, however, have been quite clear:
Hi Iceland. We asked yesterday & we’ll ask again. Please can you stop using the term 'advertising regulators'? Lots of people think it means we (ASA) banned your ad. The decision not to clear your ad was made by Clearcast, a clearance body – not an ad regulator. Many thanks.— ASA (@ASA_UK) 10 November 2018
So, in summary, the private pre-clearance authority Clearcast, told Iceland it might not pass the ASA, due to the use of Greenpeace’s footage which might be deemed political.
But sensing a way of turning a potential loss into a massive win, Iceland’s marketing team ‘leaked’ the video online, claiming it had been banned. The result:
- 2.5 million views on Youtube
- 500k retweets over 2 tweets
- 500k signatures on Change.org to force the ASA to revoke the ban.
This really couldn’t have gone any better for Iceland, but I do feel for the ASA in this instance, having to issue one ignored denial after another.