Supermarket Iceland Foods had its Christmas ad blocked from TV screens.
Why? For being too political.
The commercial, voiced by actress Emma Thompson and originally produced by Greenpeace, features a cartoon orangutan and highlights the plight of the rainforest.
Clearcast, the body which approves or rejects ads for broadcast on television and video on demand, said it was “concerned" that the commercial “doesn't comply" with legislation on political advertising.
It added that Greenpeace had “not yet been able to demonstrate compliance in this area".
Since Iceland Foods posted the “banned" video online it has since received thousands of shares on social media, which is not regulated in the same way.
The company tweeted:
“You won't see our Christmas advert on TV this year, because it was banned. But we want to share Rang-tan's story with you… Will you help us share the story?"
You won’t see our Christmas advert on TV this year, because it was banned. But we want to share Rang-tan’s story wi… https://t.co/quwMvcC6jB— Iceland Foods ❄️ (@Iceland Foods ❄️)1541743260.0
The ad was also shared on YouTube.
Iceland's Banned TV Christmas Advert... Say hello to Rang-tan. #NoPalmOilChristmas youtu.be
The ad focuses on the impact of palm oil on deforestation and follows the supermarket's decision to remove the product from all its own-label food by the end of 2018.
People wanted to know why the ad was banned.
@IcelandFoods Why is this banned? Children are taught about this at school! Whilst I don’t think it’s a Xmas advert… https://t.co/sVUJfr82ge— kirsty robinson (@kirsty robinson)1541754168.0
@kirstyerinmia HI Kirsty. The advert wasn’t approved by advertising regulators as it was seen to be in support of a… https://t.co/zPZy0Fb7Ct— Iceland Foods ❄️ (@Iceland Foods ❄️)1541759023.0
@IcelandFoods @kirstyerinmia Translation: https://t.co/2haeGP1o2n— Mr. Eddy (@Mr. Eddy)1541759872.0
@IcelandFoods @kirstyerinmia Can't believe this was banned. All it does is highlight an environmental issue and sho… https://t.co/FxIcfjkqgT— Michael Newton (@Michael Newton)1541760198.0
@IcelandFoods @kirstyerinmia Along with Icelands commitment to removing plastics from their supply chain, this palm… https://t.co/9JW15p3rJu— @SkullyBen (@@SkullyBen)1541765658.0
@IcelandFoods @kirstyerinmia It's not a political issue It's an ethical issue— jonie1303 #NHSLove 🌹labour supporter (@jonie1303 #NHSLove 🌹labour supporter)1541760537.0
@IcelandFoods @kirstyerinmia Political? That's nuts! Why do the DEC get to show humanitarian adverts, if your ad is… https://t.co/QMNPq1TOMp— Paula Chatfield (@Paula Chatfield)1541759748.0
@IcelandFoods @kirstyerinmia Thank you for taking the controversial step to highlight this. Its a tremendously impo… https://t.co/LBOjFQcDKB— singefu 🐒 (@singefu 🐒)1541765396.0
@IcelandFoods @kirstyerinmia Well done to your marketing team for sticking a finger up at the government, this is t… https://t.co/C9BtDXmnRA— Rob Jenkins (@Rob Jenkins)1541765813.0
@IcelandFoods All the same, well done for taking a stand on something so important - especially because you didn't have to do that.— David Knight (@David Knight)1541765650.0
@IcelandFoods @PhotoLawn We'll make it go viral. Money well spent. Love it— SiBurman (@SiBurman)1541768769.0
@Lauren63smith @IcelandFoods I agree! I'm sick of the powers that be deciding what we should and shouldn't see. We'… https://t.co/ds8AOC1g0o— jo smith (@jo smith)1541745759.0
People with experience in the forest habitats of orangutans added their perspective.
@Findingmyfamil1 @aev1609 @IcelandFoods @Tesco @sainsburys @marksandspencer @asda True story: At the Orangutan cons… https://t.co/WwFVArFDBx— El#FBPE 🕷️🇪🇺 🐟 (@El#FBPE 🕷️🇪🇺 🐟)1541751774.0
@El86562179 @ChrispLOL @Findingmyfamil1 @aev1609 @IcelandFoods @Tesco @sainsburys @marksandspencer @asda I was trek… https://t.co/FipQgIdyWy— Brian Cooper (@Brian Cooper)1541758991.0
@TheOmnisis @El86562179 @ChrispLOL @Findingmyfamil1 @aev1609 @IcelandFoods @Tesco @sainsburys @marksandspencer… https://t.co/NN9jKCC73V— jonie1303 #NHSLove 🌹labour supporter (@jonie1303 #NHSLove 🌹labour supporter)1541759805.0
@jonie1303 @El86562179 @ChrispLOL @Findingmyfamil1 @aev1609 @IcelandFoods @Tesco @sainsburys @marksandspencer @asda… https://t.co/CGTGz5kjEI— Brian Cooper (@Brian Cooper)1541760351.0
Greenpeace said the commercial was not originally intended for television, but neither they or Clearcast were able to immediately confirm whether it had been previously submitted for broadcast clearance.
The charity was said it is unable advertise on television due to cost and difficulties with approval.
A Greenpeace spokesman added:
“Mother, the creative agency which produced the video, submitted the Rang-tan script to Clearcast in July to test the system again and see if there was an option for us to advertise as part of our campaign alongside planned cinema screenings and social media."
"It was rejected because of the name Greenpeace."
“Working with Mother, Iceland submitted Rang-tan as their advert for Christmas but we weren't involved in the negotiations."
Iceland said it had spent about $648,000 on putting its campaign together and insisted it had booked a number of prime-time TV slots with the full intention of having it cleared to air over Christmas.
Richard Walker, managing director at 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."
A version of this article originally appeared on Press Association.