8000% Increase in Online Views for UK’s Iceland After Banned Christmas TV Ad

8000% Increase in Online Views for UK’s Iceland After Banned Christmas TV Ad

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In the battle of the Christmas TV ads, no-one goes in harder than the UK Supermarket giants, who duke it out every year to create the most emotive, tear-jerking, or giggle-inducing commercials their marketing budgets will allow for. The big guns of food retail will pull out all the stops to make the biggest splash they can with the ads, which are usually broadcast around mid-November, and accompanied by a vigorous social media push across YouTube, Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

This year is no different, but one food retail chain, Iceland Foods, didn’t even make it to air before their ad was banned/blocked, leading to more publicity than the retailer may have ever expected. The ad, “Rang-tan“, was not approved as it was created by Greenpeace, a political organisation, and political advertising is absolutely not allowed on British TV.

However, Iceland Foods uploaded the Christmas commercial to their YouTube channel where it generated 3.7M views within the first 3 days of being released. Compare this to the 43.5k views Iceland’s 7 separate Christmas ads received in the first 3 days in 2017, and that’s an increase of over 8833%!

We took a look at the performance of videos uploaded to Facebook by major UK food retail chains between 7th and 14th of November, and can confirm that Iceland Foods claimed a 68% share of voice compared to their competitors. The company uploaded the “Rang-tan” video to the platform on the 9th November, and saw it generate 12.8M in the first 3 days.

Facebook video views for major UK supermarket chains 7-14 November 2018. Share of Voice calculated from total views. All data via Tubular Labs.

The #NoPalmOilChristmas ad has sparked a lively debate about the environmental issues surrounding the harvesting of palm oil. The video ends with a dedication to “the 25 orangutans we lose every day” and a message that Iceland is to remove palm oil from all its own-label products on sale in the stores and online. The blocking of the ad from being shown on UK TV attracted huge attention across social media, and over 70K people have signed an online petition in support of Iceland’s campaign. If you haven’t seen the commercial, here it is:

A report in the Guardian claims that UK advertisers are slashing £44M from ad budgets this holiday season, and shifting the focus to digital media. While the Iceland/Greenpeace was always destined to play out on social video after the TV broadcast, the brands have reaped a staggering amount of attention and visibility around the current campaign on social video. Knowing that a partnership with Greenpeace may have come up against resistance, the marketing team for Iceland took to Facebook and YouTube to spread the word, and continue to keep up momentum with a series of tactics around the ad.


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