The orang-utan from Iceland’s banned TV advert paid a visit to Salford Shopping Centre this morning to raise awareness of the destructive effects of the use of palm oil.

Iceland’s Christmas advert could not be broadcast this year due to a breach of rules on political advertising established in the 2003 Communications Act, labeling the commercial as “too political” for its pro-environment message.

The advert has now reached more than 16 million views on Facebook and has accumulated support from celebrities like James Corden and Stephen Fry.

Rang-tan, the realistic animatronic orang-utan, greeted shoppers, posed for photos and browsed the supermarket’s ‘palm oil free’ Christmas food range.

Months have been spent designing and creating the animatronic which is controlled both via a remote and by a puppeteer who has perfected the re-creation the mannerisms of orang-utans.

The visit is part of Iceland’s campaign to highlight why it is cutting down on the use of palm oil in its food products.

Iceland managing director Richard Walker said: “Our stranded, distressed orang-utan is a stark and potent symbol of the effects of deforestation for palm oil. We always try to give people a real choice about what they buy and this was a key driver of our decision to allow Iceland customers to join us in an orang-utan friendly Christmas.”

Mass deforestation is a direct result of sourcing palm oil; Greenpeace, who collaborated with Iceland for the advert, says: “An area the size of a football pitch is torn down in Indonesia’s rainforest every 25 seconds, with palm oil driving the destruction.”

This destruction has impacted on endangered species’ habitats, including orang-utans, leaving them homeless resulting in 25 orang-utans being lost as a result every day.

Other supermarkets in the Salford Shopping Precinct, Tesco, Aldi and Lidl, are seeking to expand the use of or already do use sustainable palm oil in their products.

Follow Iceland’s campaign at #NoPalmOilChristmas.

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