The Cute Ad Banned On British TV For Being "Too Political"
Making people fat: fine. Saving forests: not so much.
An ad which highlights a UK supermarket chain's initiatives to rid its shelves of palm oil has been banned from television for being "too political".
Iceland (not to be confused with the country) has about 800 stores in the UK and has roughly two percent of the country's food market.
The chain prides itself on its sustainability initiatives, and by airing the ad which features a little girl with a baby orangutan in her bedroom, it aimed to raise awareness of rainforest destruction caused by palm oil production.
But the ad was a version of a video previously made by Greenpeace as part of the environmental group's campaign against palm oil production -- and that's what led to the ban.
Political ads are not allowed on British television, and because of the Greenpeace connection, the ad was ruled to be political in nature according to the UK Code of Broadcast Advertising, which you can find here. (The relevant part is section 7.2.1.)
Meanwhile, people took to social media to voice their disappointment.
Others pointed out the hypocrisy of banning an ad which promotes sound environmental practices while allowing ads for all sorts of sugary, fattening and generally unhealthy products.
The palm oil issue is not as simple as palm oil bad, other oil good.
Groups like The Orangutan Project release emotive statements that say "every hour 300 football fields of precious remaining forest is being ploughed to the ground across South East Asia to make way for palm oil plantations".
But palm oil producers like Malaysian Palm Oil point out that the oil palm is the most efficient oil-bearing crop in the world. This means you need less land to produce it than other oil-bearing crops.
On balance, the best solution for consumers is to source palm oil from sustainable plantations which weren't illegally logged in rainforests - if they can. Sadly it's not so easy to know.
Meanwhile, Iceland has committed to no palm oil in its own brand food by the end of 2018.