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Iceland's Christmas ad campaign, which went viral after being banned from broadcast, has been named as the ‘most powerful Christmas ad of 2018’ by Kantar Millward Brown.

'No Palm Oil', a repurposed film from Greenpeace, raised awareness of rampant deforestation by bringing an animated Orangutan to life to bring home the consequences of unfettered growth of palm oil plantations.

Of 22 brands and retailers scored by Millward Brown Iceland’s hard-hitting campaign emerged as the strongest with consumers praising it for showing ‘involvement’, ‘brand love’, ‘enjoyment’, ‘persuasion’, ‘relevance’ and differentiation in their reviews.

Running Iceland a close second was Amazon with ‘Can You Feel It’, with M&S, Aldi's alliterative vegetable, John Lewis's Elton John extravaganza and Sainsbury’s all in close pursuit.

Graham Page, managing director of offer and innovation at Kantar Millward Brown, commented: “This year the best-received ads are those consumers feel capture what Christmas should be about, which for many is simply families and friends coming together and having a good time.

“These depict realistic, straightforward scenarios, and focus on giving gifts that have meaning, rather than costing a lot. This is partly driven by the tough times we’re in, and the increased awareness of the need to live more sustainably. The bigger more cinematic ads offer escapism, but may have seemed out of touch. Ads need to tap into the cultural and social reality.”

To date the advert has racked up over 30m views online, highlighting the possibility for brands to make waves beyond the television set in today’s digital world amidst an ongoing debate as to whether the ban was justified.