Networking in Berkshire - Business Event Details

A Different Take - Why Iceland’s 2018 Christmas Advert was Banned from TV and What it Means for their Marketing

Christmas is the season for marketing. Brands all across the world ramp up their marketing efforts during the festive period, attempting to make themselves synonymous with the warm, fuzzy feelings of the holiday. Nowhere is this more apparent than in the TV adverts released by big brand names like Sainsbury’s and ASDA, which, as mentioned in another blog of ours, are an exercise in playing up emotion in the customer. This is usually done to drive people into stores by establishing a connection with them.

This year however, one big name store decided to move away from the usual Christmas advert featuring happy families and stories that make you feel good - instead, Iceland has opted for something completely different. Their Christmas advert this year featured beautiful animation and a story between a little girl and a small orangutan - so far, typical Christmas TV advert. In a strange twist however, this advert has been banned by Clearcast, the company responsible for approving or rejecting adverts for broadcast. The reason? It was deemed to be promoting a political message.

Back in April, Iceland became the first major UK supermarket to pledge to remove a.... This was done in a bid to halt the destruction of rainforests in south-east Asia. The demand for the oil is growing exponentially as it can be found in food, cosmetics, biodiesel and more. However, in an attempt to promote their stance through their Christmas TV advert, a film created by Greenpeace, Iceland have found themselves faced with a ban - and potentially both good and bad repercussions of their marketing move.

Christmas TV adverts come under more scrutiny than ever before these days, with people ranking their favourites online, generally based on how much of an emotional reaction they elicited. Iceland’s advert will perhaps be talked about more now that it’s been banned than it would have previously - certainly the company has a headline now that others don’t. It’s also not going to prevent people from watching the pulled advert - although it’s gone from TV screens, it can be found easily online (it’s even in this blog!)

Whether or not the advert should have been pulled from the air is something that’s being hotly debated across the country, but what is assured is that it’s perhaps gaining more traction now than it ever would have before.

In the age of digital marketing, it’s becoming harder to silence potentially controversial adverts - in fact, Iceland’s newest advert may even reach a wider audience on the internet than it would have on TV. It’s certainly interesting how, a few years ago, a banned advert would’ve simply disappeared quietly. Now, thanks to the internet and video-sharing being popular like never before, Iceland’s marketing found its audience, just not in the place it expected.

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