Silver Marketing Association Member | CIPR | MPA Inspiration Award

Viral content – Iceland and the power of social media


While we all usually anticipate the John Lewis Christmas ad, one company took us all by surprise this year. Thanks to the power of social media, this viral content has positively impact the world with its message, shining a spotlight on a very important issue. Here’s how the Iceland ad took off despite being banned.

Getting the content out there

The world was introduced to the ad with a short message –

“You won’t see our Christmas advert on TV this year, because it was banned. But we want to share Rang-tan’s story with you…
Will you help us share the story?”


The tweet links to a YouTube video (just upload the video to Twitter next time!) with this advert:


In case you didn’t watch it, the advert raises awareness of the palm oil industry and deforestation. It really tugs at your heartstrings as Rang-Tan shares the story of losing his home.

The advert has now seen 4.4m views on YouTube alone, and huge organisations such as Change and Greenpeace (who originally made the film) have uploaded it for people to watch and share on their social media timelines. The video has now been seen countless times by millions of people.

Viral content – What happened next

It was a risk that paid off. The original tweet has seen 92k retweets and 97k likes and tweets featuring the video have seen countless more.

Not only that, the British public is 100 percent behind the food shop. A petition to show the advert on TV has seen 670k signatures so far. Numerous palm oil petitions have been signed, urging large corporations such as Mars and Cadbury not to use palm oil in their product ranges.

The advert really shows the power of viral content on social media. Just one simple tweet dominated the news and this year, took the advert win from the long-standing champion John Lewis. The message that we take away from this is that it always pays to be bold. Iceland really stood out from the crowd this year and it’s one that will be remembered for years to come.

Need a few tips on creating viral content? Read our blog here.

Want to work with an agency that can create bold and engaging campaigns? Contact or call the office on 0161 850 0565.


Like to know more?

  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

Want to see our stuff?

Have a nosey at all of our latest PR and creative
projects to see what we've been working on lately

see case studies