by Dolline Mukui

It’s leading up to that time where people get excited about Christmas and start counting down the days. Your friends may ask you whether you’ve have started your Christmas shopping or if you’re leaving it to the last minute like a lot of people do.

A big aspect of Christmas shopping are the adverts you see on TV encouraging you to buy from their shop. The start of Christmas for some is marked by Halloween, and others is marked by the first Christmas adverts on TV. In the past few years, Christmas seems to be a competition of who can make the best Christmas advert, with its aim to make you envision Christmas exactly as you see it on screen, whether it be food, presents or decorations.

A number of outlets have released their advert for this year. Brands such as John Lewis, Marks & Spencers have been known to create exceptional adverts costing a lot of money. This year Iceland has been in the headlines for an interesting reason. Their £500,000 advert didn’t even make it to our TV screens after being deemed too political.

The advert, a cartoon of an orangutan in a child’s bedroom messing it up and the child in the cartoon, tells the story of a child trying to get the ape to go away but first she wants to find out why it was in her room. The advert then goes on to highlight the impact on palm oil on deforestation.

Clearcast, the body that is responsible for screening ads before they are broadcast to the public, said it was in breach of rules banning political advertising laid down by the 2003 Communications Act. Iceland posted the advert on YouTube and within 24 hours, it already gained 1.5m views

Earlier this year, Iceland became the first supermarket to pledge to remove palm oil from all its own-brand foods. The orangutan is being classified as critically endangered as habitat loss in countries such as Malaysia is contributing to to the production of palm oil.

The advert, that was made by Greenpeace who are an independent organisation campaigning to ensure a peaceful and sustainable world by investigating, exposes and confronts environmental abuse by governments and corporations around the world.

Iceland’s founder, Malcolm Walker said “we got the permission to use it and take off the Greenpeace logo and use it as the Iceland Christmas ad. It would have blown the John Lewis ad out of the window. It was so emotional. Not only do we have to think of the effects loosing animals and their natural habit but also the processing of it leads to rising gas emissions and climate change.”

The video might have been not as effective if they used a real human or ape but telling the story in the format of a cartoon touches our inner child. It affects us, because it grabs our attention and the attention of children. The idea being, that if a child can understand and sympathise with the organgutan, can’t we?

Last Year, another controversial advert grabbed out attention. Debenhams released a Christmas advert where a white woman and black man fell in love on a train. This seemed to get people talking about it but was never banned. However, it is a reflection of today’s society and people have a right to fall in love with whoever they choose. Some people might say that we’re forcing this reality down their throat but wouldn’t say the same thing about the Iceland advert? 

Dolline is a traveller, journalist and blogger who has palate to try new things. She is a very spontaneous person; you might find her skydiving over the Kenyan coast to kayaking in the Lake District. She can be an over thinker who thinks of every outcome but if she doesn’t she welcomes the change that wasn’t planned. However, she is a very simple person who is up for a good laugh or a book and enjoys living the moment. Dolline also writes for her small personal blog called ‘Swatches of Beauty’ and is currently a production journalist trainee at ITV Border.