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However you look at it, the Rang-tan Christmas’ TV Advert by Iceland is a wonderful piece of guerrilla marketing on behalf of the orangutan habitats that are being destroyed at an alarming rate in the name of palm oil.

Deforestation of vast swathes of Borneo and beyond are wreaking havoc on the surviving numbers of this incredible animal.

I find it unlikely that the strategic planning of this wonderful advertisement wasn’t carefully considering the fact it would be instantly banned. What a wonderful way to increase exposure and garner public support for the cause. But just how did Iceland do it? After all, most advertisements are designed and created to entice an emotional response.

Well it appears it has all started with who was involved in the background: Greenpeace. As a political body campaigning for green issues across the world, the involvement directly or indirectly of Greenpeace will have ensured from the outset that the advertisement would be banned.

The Advertising Standards Authority guidelines state that, “An advertisement contravenes the prohibition on political advertising if it is an advertisement which is inserted by, or on behalf of, a body whose objects are wholly or mainly of a political nature.”

So you may then think that’s a bad result for a retailer like Iceland who clearly have marketing motives beyond selling product. Not in the least. A banned advert is a wonderful asset with the breadth and depth of reach on offer through social media…

Simply announce the ban through social media and let the concept of social advocacy do the rest….

Days later and the likes of James Cordon (10 million followers on Twitter alone, for example) and a host of other well known people are all over the subject and ensuring the subject goes viral. At the time of writing, the ad has been viewed by over 15,000,000 people on Facebook alone. Would Iceland have achieved that kind of engaged coverage on terrestrial commercial television? It’s very unlikely.

And of course there is then the spin off activity which helps to fuel the campaign into Christmas, including Iceland’s claim to let loose an animatronic orang-utan on the streets of the UK.

All credit to a brilliantly orchestrated and planned campaign that has stretched legislation to the limit, used multiple  integrated marketing channels and ensured this worthy cause is supported at a time of mass over-consumption.

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