Words: Sammy Sadler, B2B Account Manager
If you’re a social media user, and over 44million of us in the UK are, you will have found it difficult to ignore the noise surrounding Iceland’s Christmas advert this year. After failing to get advertising clearance from Clearcast due to its link with Greenpeace, the advert has racked up support in the hundreds of thousands from social media users backing the supermarket’s stance on removing palm oil from its products.
Featuring the cute Rang-tan causing mayhem in a little girl’s bedroom, the animated advert sparked emotion and told a story in a different way to what we would usually expect from retailers at this time of year. The frozen food giant even took the campaign one step further and created an offline experience in London, where a part-man, part-robotic ape was abandoned on Coin Street in a bid to further highlight the damage caused by palm oil production.
Following the unveiling of the campaign, the issue of deforestation and the dangers it causes for wildlife has been brought into the spotlight. Alongside sparking conversations and raising awareness of the issue, Iceland has received publicity everywhere. It has encouraged the public to make the advert go viral, the engagement between the brand and consumer has been extensive across social media, petitions have been created and a whole host of media coverage has been secured.
All of the above has been achieved without Iceland even attempting to promote its products. By only briefly mentioning its brand at the end through illustrating that the company would be removing palm oil from its own products, Iceland has created something quite unique in comparison to its older adverts featuring Kerry Katona hosting a Christmas bash.
Taking this bold stance to associate itself with the cause through social media as its primary platform, Iceland can safely say that is has taken the crown for the best Christmas advert this year. Whether the supermarket was aware the advert would be banned or not, it doesn’t take away the fact that by assigning itself to an important cause – Iceland has created more conversations that it could have possibly hoped for.
Brands are recognising that purpose is more important nowadays to the consumer. Everyone is pushing to be heard, especially in the busy world of social media, so it couldn’t be a better time to establish what your brand’s purpose actually is. Iceland has done that in such a heartwarming way that it’s difficult to ignore and not admire. For example, Nike’s purpose, or mission statement as they call it, is “to bring inspiration and innovation to every athlete in the world.”
Now, not everyone will feel comfortable to boldly declare themselves as a supporter of something, especially in regards to political preferences. But it doesn’t have to be aligned with a political issue, it just needs to be something that will appeal to the consumer in some way. And there really is something to be said about having a brand voice that is relatable and interesting.
We discuss brand stories a lot at O. We are brand storytellers at our very core and we care about working with businesses to really share the journey and vision for their brand. But having your own opinion can go beyond that initial brand story. As well as telling your audience about your product, you are showing that you and your people are human and that you stand for something outside of your business. And as the old saying goes, “people buy from people.”
Although some were skeptical that the advert had in fact been a clever PR ploy, managing director Richard Walker penned an open letter over the weekend which was published in the Guardian. In the statement, he said:
“Far from being a cynical PR ploy all along, this was a genuine case of serendipity. I think it proved just how engaged and concerned consumers are with this issue and it raised a global debate around the pros and cons of palm oil and deforestation.”
Whether you agree with the campaign or not, it worked and it’ll be one that I suspect will be talked about in years to come.
So, what is it that your brand stands for?