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ITV boss backs banned Iceland ad broadcast

ITV chief executive Carolyn McCall has come out in support of Iceland’s banned Christmas palm oil campaign after declaring it "ludicrous" that the viral ad could be viewed 65m times online but not once on broadcast television.

The controversial piece took the form of a rebadged Greenpeace short film depicting the plight of a displaced orangutan driven from its home by habitat destruction. Its broadcast was blocked by Clearcast however on the grounds that it broke rules banning the airing of political advertising.

Contributing to a panel discussion at the Future TV McCall said: “So Iceland ran an ad deemed to be a political advert in its entire form on social media. We could not run the advert, it’s so ludicrous I think it should have been allowed. But if it’s not allowed why is it allowed to run as content anywhere else?”

McCall refrained from singling out Clearcast for criticism, maintaining that ITV agreed with other broadcasters that in its present form it should not be run but rather expressed exasperation that there was no level playing field between broadcast and online media.

Clearcast justified its ban on the grounds that Greenpeace was an organisation of a primarily political nature, even though the campaign groups branding had been removed, as it had already been aired extensively under its Greenpeace guise.

Despite (or perhaps because of) its ban the Iceland/Greenpeace commercial was named as this year's most 'powerful' Christmas campaign.