I am not a great fan of Christmas adverts, especially when they are aired in November, but this is the Iceland one, which according to the Guardian, has been banned for being too political.

The paper says that as part of the retailer’s festive campaign they 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.

Earlier this year, Iceland became the first major UK supermarket to pledge to remove palm oil from all its own-brand foods. Habitat loss in countries such as Malaysia, which is a major global producer of palm oil, has contributed to the orangutan now being classified as critically endangered.

However, Clearcast, the body responsible for vetting 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:

One of the stipulations enshrined in the broadcast code for advertising practice (BCAP), is that an ad is prohibited if it is “directed towards a political end”.

“Clearcast and the broadcasters have to date been unable to clear this Iceland ad because we concerned that it doesn’t comply with the political rules of the BCAP code,” said a spokeswoman for Clearcast. “The creative submitted to us is linked to another organisation who have not yet been able to demonstrate compliance in this area.”

Iceland will still be placing TV ads, but only 10-second clips that will highlight palm oil-free products.

It seems to me that this is stretching the term ‘political’ to an unacceptable limit. If the future of the planet is deemed to be too political for the advertising authority then we might as well all pack up and go home.

Christmas in fact is one of the least sustainable events in the calendar, both in terms of the way we celebrate it and in the strain it puts on the earth’s resources. Perhaps we should term any advert promoting excessive consumption at Christmas to be too political as well.