Banned For Being Political

As part of its festive campaign, the UK discount supermarket Iceland struck a deal with Greenpeace to rebadge an animated short film featuring an orangutan and the destruction of its rainforest habitat at the hands of palm oil growers.

Clearcast, the body responsible for vetting adverts before they are broadcast to the public, said it was in breach of rules banning political advertising laid down by the 2003 Communications Act.

The advert was subsequently banned from seeing the light of day on our television screens.

You can watch it here:

“This was a film that Greenpeace made with a voice over by Emma Thompson,” said Iceland’s founder, Malcolm Walker. “We got permission to use it and take off the Greenpeace logo and use it as the Iceland Christmas advertisement.”

Clearcast executives are anally retentive idiots!

I’m quite disgusted at Clearcast for taking such a stance. Perhaps they haven’t heard of the Streisand effect?

The Streisand effect is a phenomenon whereby an attempt to hide, remove, or censor a piece of information has the unintended consequence of publicizing the information more widely, usually facilitated by the Internet. It is an example of psychological reactance, wherein once people are aware that some information is being kept from them, their motivation to access and spread it is increased.

It is named after American entertainer Barbra Streisand, whose 2003 attempt to suppress photographs of her residence in Malibu, California inadvertently drew further public attention to it. Similar attempts have been made, for example, in cease-and-desist letters to suppress files, websites, and even numbers. Instead of being suppressed, the information receives extensive publicity and media extensions such as videos and spoof songs, often being widely mirrored on the Internet or distributed on file-sharing networks.

  • Clearcast have well and truly shot themselves in the foot, as the Iceland advert is set to be shared far and wide.

A spokesperson for Iceland said, “Whilst our advert sadly never made it to TV screens, we are hopeful that consumers will take to social media to view the film, which raises awareness of an important global issue. Our commitment to say ‘no to palm oil’ remains extremely close to our hearts and we are proud to be encouraging consumers to make sustainable choices, even without the support of TV advertising, ahead of the Christmas shopping season.”

Photo: Wallula



    1. It certainly made me think that consumerism is having a dreadful impact on the planet. We need to go back to the drawing board and rethink how we do things.

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  1. I gave a hollow laugh when I heard about the advert ban on the radio. All advertising is in some way political of course we are ‘allowed’ to watch it if it condones thoughtless greed and consumerism. Loving the Streisand effect! Thanks for sharing through your post. Moke

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    1. It reminded me of the bans that we have endured with the likes of Radio 1.. where they banned a song and it went straight to #1.

      One of the things that annoys me with this case, is that the animation had previously been cleared when promoted by Greenpeace. Double standards appear to have been applied.

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  2. Exactly. TV no longer has the monopoly when it comes to shaping culture, as was the case only a couple of decades ago. It is a medium that is in danger of extinction and the autocrats that run it need to realise that and wake up. …. PS, thanks for liking one of my recent posts, your blog is fantastic, am following 🙂

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