Advertising design at it's best | Icelands rang-tang ad hits the spot
a couple of months ago

The futures not yet written, but I’ll make sure that it’s ours

The holy grail of advertising design…

With over 5 million views on YouTube alone in the last 20 days the rang-tang ad is clearly making an impact so we look at why it is a brilliant ad and why their ‘banned’ status made it all the more compelling.

This isn’t an Iceland Ad…

First of all this was my gut reaction on seeing the #NoPalmOilChristmas ad because for me the branding of the advert design just didn’t fit with the usual Iceland narrative.

Iceland campaigns have typically been focused on the money conscious consumer not the ethical one.  Likewise they’re known for celebrity ads and pretty cheesy puns at times.  As it turns out Greenpeace were behind it and that makes much more sense from a brand perspective.

Worth noting that on the Greenpeace YouTube release they’ve had 416,000 views in 3 months….Just Sayin’

I did a little digging around on the Iceland website and they’re really committing to a lot of social impact causes right now.

They’re also at 85% plastic free on their own product range with campaigns to develop that further too along with a whole charitable foundation dedicated to social impact causes.

Skeptics among us will say ‘its all for publicity’ and ‘its to further their own gain’.  Well honestly I don’t really care if it is a bit.  6 months ago I’d never heard of palm oil, I’m sure if I asked 1000 people on the high street 873 wouldn’t have either. (totally guessed at the figure by the way)

And that’s exactly the point of publicity and brilliant advertising design.

Across all platforms over 30 million views of that video have happened.  That’s a whole lot of people who now know about palm oil.

First part of the journey done.

But what’s genius about this advertising design is it’s storytelling.

Like all things ‘somewhere else’ it’s so easy to say how sad it is and then crack on driving around our inner city life and consuming to our hearts content with absolutely zero care about how that thing just came to be in our hand.

We have the same with poverty, conflict and all the other ‘not in our back yard’ traumas of the world.  Hell we even have it with climate change and that really is very much in our back yard.

The creators of this advert bought the trauma to us, right in the heart of our safest place, our childhood bedroom.

They subtly demonised the annoying rang-tang, creating a naughty persona for him and naturally an affinity of ‘how rude’ with the little girl.

And then when you’ve already confirmed your values to yourself about how terrible it is to ruin other peoples things.

You’re suddenly the villain.

They use the same sequence of events, same language pattern and same narrative with one word swapped out…


And there’s really only one choice after that.  Either you have learned to overcome your own cognitive dissonance and can instantly change your mind about right and wrong (pretty unlikely).

Or you have to face up to the reality that you’ve had a kind non-threatening girl and a fluffy rang-tang uncover the evil that’s being poured into your shopping without you even knowing.

Suddenly they let you off the hook.

You’re not the evil villain anymore.

THEY are.

And THEY banned the ad because THEY didn’t want you to know.

And Iceland have uncovered the conspiracy and saved you.

So now you trust Iceland.

And now you have a reason to shop palm oil free.

And I don’t even know who banned the ad, do you? Or why? Probably you don’t.  You just know that someone somewhere didn’t want you to know and Iceland are the hero of the hour.

And if they get an extra 5 million or 30 million customers this Christmas then well played Iceland.

Because it seems they published an ad that got way more impact than Greenpeace would have got (after all this is just another Greenpeace ad along with whatever your views associated with that brand is).

It’s Greenpeace’s job to deliver ads like this.

It’s not Iceland’s job.

A fact that 30 million views in 20 days proves.

Iceland broke with their brand and they have been heavily rewarded for it.

The advertising design, narrative and everything about how it came to be viewed by the world is pure genius. And it’s one more micro-moment in tide of turning mindless consumerism into conscious collaboration.

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