As the newest intern to be welcomed by the friendly team at The Dairy Creative Agency, I was asked to create a blog post regarding something that caused debate in the marketing world. I was drawn towards the controversial advert that received 3.1 million views on YouTube, after being banned due to political reasons. This was Iceland’s ‘Rang-tan’ advert, which in my opinion was one of the most successful of the 2018 Christmas Adverts.
The advert was banned because it was deemed to be in breach of rules banning political advertising laid down by the Communications Act of 2003. Although the advert originally made by GreenPeace was never aired on TV, it became one of the most famous adverts last year. Not only showcasing the impact that politics and debate has on a campaign, but also the effect of social media attention and coverage. In addition, it highlights the public’s want to get behind Iceland’s campaign to start the removal of palm oil from unnecessary products.
Palm oil has a detrimental impact on environment and often leads to deforestation and loss of habitat. Originally sourced in Africa, it is now a massive industry in Malaysia. After visiting Borneo myself two years ago, it became evident that the loss of habitat and the extreme deforestation is driving many species to the brink of extinction. The prime species discussed in the debate of farming palm oil is Orangutans (featured in the Iceland advert). Statistics estimate that the production of palm oil has lead to the death of 100,000 orangutans.
The Iceland advert intelligently uses the tragic loss of habitat to pull at the audiences heart strings when a baby Orangutan is left with no home. Therefore, not only is the advert classed at ‘politically controversial’, it also serves to make the public feel guilty and sad for the endangered species. This further enhances their support behind the advertisement and benefits it’s success in the world of social media.
Although it’s questionable as to whether Iceland planned for the advert to be banned in the first place, it is certain that the television advertisement was successful. The brands score of talkability increased by 96.2%, making Iceland the second most talked about Supermarket. Not only was the commercial beneficial to Iceland’s business, it also raised audience awareness for the effects of palm oil on the environment and wildlife. The petition to release the advert received over 800,000 signatures.
In my opinion, Iceland were incredibly smart in releasing this advertisement. Global warming is becoming a huge problem for us all and I think that it is crucial for big businesses, such as Iceland, to be advocates for the changes that need to start happening. I fully support their efforts to be more environmentally friendly and urge other companies to follow suit.