Emotion Analysis: Iceland’s Banned Christmas Ad

With the holiday season fast approaching many of us are excited to see the variety, content and effort brands put into their adverts – will they pull at our heart strings, show families filled with joy and happiness or simply advertise the latest product? Well, the icebreaker to the festive season has undoubtedly been marked by the controversy of Iceland’s gripping tale of Rang-tan, the baby orangutan. The supermarket giant has offered a short film created by Greenpeace as their piece of Christmas content, that has since been banned from our screens.


The Film

The film depicts a young orangutan, named Rang-tan, that appears in a little girl’s bedroom. The little girl, voiced by Dame Emma Thompson, is confused about why the cute creature is in her room and so the film goes on to show that it’s because Rang-tan no longer has a home, due to deforestation. A lot of deforestation is caused by demands for palm oil, which can be found in a huge number of food and beauty products. Iceland has recently become the first UK supermarket claiming to remove palm oil from is own-brand products. So what has this recent revelation and audacious advert done for Iceland’s brand perception?

We’ve used our analytics software Emotics to analyse what emotions people feel towards Iceland and the new advertisement, and the drivers of these emotions. Iceland score a massive 61 for Joy, with consumers saying that they are touched by the brand’s campaign and drive for a positive environmental impact.

Joy is being firmly driven by consumers’ passion for environmental change and the solidarity they feel with a corporate giant on their side.

Whilst some express happiness and activism in their social media posts, others convey sadness at the topic of deforestation, and anger towards those banning the advertisement.

Our Analysis

According to Emotics, Iceland score a heavy 49 for Sadness and 39 for Disgust, two impressively high scores for these medium-activation emotions. Although consumers are feeling sadness and anger, they are still on-side with Iceland. Their touching campaign has definitely strengthened their brand perception.

According to Forbes, we live in an era wherein brand perception is no longer solely reliant on the product but rests mostly on the perceived value of a brand, which is often formed by content, campaigns and advertisements. In early July, Iceland were named the UK’s top supermarket for customer satisfaction. This held the brand in good stead to release Rang-tan’s touching, down-to-earth tale as Iceland appeared to already have the consumer on-side.

Iceland pulled out all the stops with their Christmas campaign. They decided to use the entirely unambiguous hashtag #NoPalmOilChristmas to maximise awareness. After the advertisement was banned from being shown on mainstream television channels, due to its political nature, Rang-tan’s story managed to gain even more exposure. The 90 second clip has totted up over 3 million views already, and has began to see support from celebrities the likes of Bill Bailey and James Cordon. The ad. is now being backed by one of the largest petition websites ‘Change.org’, as hopeful individuals sign away to try and get the ad back on TV. Iceland and consumers alike now hope that the emotional piece will go viral.

It seems as though the controversial advert has gained Iceland a huge amount of supporters as well as brand recognition and admiration. It could be said that the banning of the advert has actually provoked the film to go viral.

Our emotion analysis revealed that consumers feel extremely passionately about the film and Iceland’s efforts to raise awareness of the destruction and environmental impact that palm oil has on rain forests and wildlife.

Adoreboard’s innovative platform Emotics paves the way for companies to identify and analyse emotions felt by consumers, and unlocks decision-ready insights that improve business performance and better your CX program. If you would like to find out more about what we do and how we can advance your business then sign up for a demo here 

Check out this short video to discover the value of Emotics.

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