Clearcast own goal propels Iceland and Greepeace to Christmas success

We’ve got the Christmas ad winner already – and all because Clearcast, a company that acts as a broadcast ad regulator, in its wisdom banned it.

It’s Iceland’s “the story of Rang-tang,’ an orangutang which invades a bedroom as nasty humans have destroyed its natural habitat for palm oil. Agency Mother used Greenpeace footage and, according to Clearcast, that makes it “too political.”

You can see why Clearcast is doubly cautious in this “fake news” era but, in this case, an own goal.

Not that Iceland and Greenpeace should be complaining with over three million YouTube views already (but they are naturally.)

Palm oil appears in many of the products made by TV’s biggest traditional advertisers. Which could be a coincidence of course…

MAA creative scale: 9.


  1. I think this is a bit sloppy a reporting angle.
    The Iceland ad is an example of Fake News.
    Clearcut have not banned the ad, they haven’t approved Greenpeace to run any TV ads as they haven’t proved they are not a political organisation. As part of this they determined that Iceland’s ad is actually Greenpeace’s ad as it came out in August and was referred to as such at the time.
    Iceland have directly used Greenpeace’s ad and then posted it in a way designed to invoke outrage and clicks, both in content (they tried to ban this ad for being too political) and in timing (Christmas ads are a category to their own and someone banning one is likely to bring more outrage than at other times of the year). Side point: the link to Christmas ad is pretty tenious considering there isn’t even a winter theme to it and it came out in August.
    So now we have people clicking and reposting the ad stating it was banned and urging people to watch it without a real understanding the actual regulations that led to it not appearing on TV.
    This in turn begins to undermine rules that hold our ads to high standards. Like this article concluding they have an own goal with little research painting the regulatory in a negative light. These moments start to ebb away trust in regulatory organisations which lead to moments that cause knock on effects.
    Like if this ads ban were reversed or Greenpeace were allowed TV ads without providing the information to prove they are not political. Not saying the ad or company is bad, but it’s a gateway to other more dubious organisations using this case as a way to advertise on TV.

  2. Rachel, I don’t understand where you see the fake news in this advert? Greenpeace gave Iceland permission to use the advert. “Iceland have directly used Greenpeace’s ad and then posted it in a way designed to invoke outrage and clicks”. How is this true? They didn’t post it with the knowledge that it wouldn’t get clearance and then get popularised by being ‘banned’? And if it brings outrage then the advert has achieved it’s goal as the manufacturing of Palm Oil in this way IS OUTRAGEOUS! Just because it has been released now (or re-released) during the Christmas period doesn’t mean it has to have snow, or a Winter theme. If Iceland said “This is the advert we will show during the Christmas period”, would that be better? Clearcast say the Greenpeace is “wholly or mainly of a political nature”. Greenpeace strive for environmental change through political lobbying but to say they are political is ridiculous. Lets also not forget that this year Greenpeace’s Unearthed revealed correspondence between the Ministry of Defence, the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, and the British high commission warning that supporting an EU ban on the imports of palm oil in biofuels could put at risk defence deals with Malaysia – one of the world’s biggest producers of palm oil – to replace its fleet of fighter jets with British-built Eurofighter Typhoon aircraft. Lets not forget that it is organisations like Sky and ITV that fund them and it the owners of these companies that mould the political world we live in.

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