'It's that time of year again when every brand known to man will release a cutesy ad about being lonely or trying to find the hidden magic of life.
While they may be universal themes we can all relate to, one brand took a risk and produced one of the best Christmas ads in recent years.
Iceland, the British supermarket chain, created the character of Rangtun, an orangutann searching for a new home after their home is destroyed by humans. Voiced by Oscar winner Emma Thompson, the ad focuses on the deforestation in the orangutans prime habitats in Borneo and Sumatra and is dedicated to the 25 orangutans that die a day because of deforestation.
Teaming up with Greenpeace who created the ad, the move to release it under the banner of Iceland coincides with the companies plan to remove all palm oil from its range of products.
Deforestation occurs when human interference transforms the land into farms or urban areas. The forests are removed and replaced with farms used to generate palm oil. Palm oil can be found in half of household products and 85% of the time is exported from Malaysia and Indonesia but through unsustainable measures.
The orangutan is an essential part of the ecosystem of these regions as it germinates seed through its digestive system, helping the environment flourish. This large-scale deforestation is pushing many species to extinction, and findings show that if nothing changes, species like the orangutan could become extinct in the wild within the next 5-10 years, and Sumatran tigers in less than 3 years.
According to The Guardian, the brand will still run 10-second ads showcasing their palm-oil free range but the full ad will not be shown on television. The broadcasting code in the UK prohibits advertising if it directed towards a political end as the ad is attached to Greenpeace, a non-government body who actively challenges the public's perception.
Richard Walker, Managing Director of Iceland, insists their issue isn't with palm-oil but the deforestation that takes place:
We wanted [the Greenpeace film] to be our signature campaign. We have said repeatedly we are not anti-palm oil, we are anti-deforestation..We think this is a huge story that needs to be told. We always knew there was a risk [the clip would not be cleared for TV] but we gave it our best shot.