CHANCES are, you’ve already seen Iceland’s Christmas advert by now.

Despite being banned from television because it breaches political advertising rules, the advert, which highlights the damaging impact of palm oil production on rainforests and the orangutan population, has racked up more than 15 million views after a host of celebrities shared it on social media.

A petition to get the advert shown on TV has reached more than 670,000 signatures. Having initially been frustrated at the stance adopted by Clearcast, the body which approves adverts for TV, Iceland are now celebrating a PR coup.

The situation raises some important questions, not least about what constitutes a political message on television. David Attenborough makes similar points about deforestation and environmental destruction in his nature programmes and is praised for being a campaigning journalist. Iceland, however, are banned from delivering the same message.

The availability of the advert on a range of different websites also highlights the nonsensical way in which ‘old’ media companies in television, radio or print are treated completely different from ‘new’ media companies operating on the internet.

Why are the rules for one completely different to the regulations governing the other?

The days when TV companies had a monopoly on people’s viewing habits are long gone. As a result, it makes no sense to have a different approach just because something is broadcast on social media rather than a TV channel.