If you’re here, you’ve likely seen Greenpeace and Iceland Retail’s “There’s a Rangtan in my Bedroom” ad. If you haven’t, here it is in its entirety.

You need to watch this before reading the rest of my article.



For even the most cynical among you (and I’d consider myself in your ranks), this would have tugged at your heartstrings. As a green marketer, I think there a lot of lessons to be taken away and it’s worth analysing and emulating this example.


Let’s break this down


The value of unexpectedness

This is a classic tactic referred to in the classic book, Made to Stick by the Heath Brothers. The image of an orangutan in a bedroom is unexpected and catches people’s eye in the first second.

Making it relatable

In our green marketing tactics handbook, we talk about the importance of bringing your message close to home. The creators (Mother London) took this tactic quite literally. The opening shot in the little girl’s bedroom makes the whole piece instantly relatable.

Making the impact visual

The imagery is beautiful and simple, with almost no text which complements the narrative perfectly. It’s light and hopeful when it needs to be and dark and horrible when it’s not. 

Using contrast well

The visuals bring us to the contrast in them. People think in comparisons. Nothing is ever considered in a vacuum. By juxtaposing the colorful cozy home life and childish language against the dark horrors of deforestation, the contrast is made clear. Notice also the common binding thread of the orangutan through all the visuals to really drive that point home.

Call to action

Like all good ads there’s a strong call to action. An inspiring hopeful one, shown in a simple way. This is a concrete step which customer can take. While this is a Greenpeace creation, Iceland gave it a boost: the subtext of the ad getting banned by Clearcast makes it also seem more like a protest. And this is important.

Making people feel part of a community and movement

Let me make this clear, Clearcast did Iceland and Greenpeace a huge favour by banning this ad. By framing it as a banned ad, Iceland can give the idea of switching away from palm oil almost a revolutionary/protest feel, that anyone can join. What could be more enticing? Join in the movement and stick it to the man!


Will it make a difference?

It’s a great ad, but what are the likely results? We have a few equally viral precedents to go with: Patagonia’s Don’t Buy this Jacket campaign and Rainforest Alliance’s Follow the Frog campaign. Here are my takeaways:

– this is the no palm oil movement’s mainstream cultural movement
– the main result will be an increase in awareness for the average consumer (beyond the deep to light green consumers)
– palm oil free will become a thing in 2019, retailers beware
– hashtags that will trend and blink out in the next week: #dropdirtypalmoil, #orangutans, #palmoil, #nopalmoilchristmas
– hashtags that will stay: #nopalmoil #palmoilfree
– there’s already a lot of mislabeling when it comes to palm oil. If the moment has to be sustained beyond 3 months, companies like Iceland will have to take extra care in their labeling verification processes so as not to lose consumer trust.

If you’re a green marketer, analyze this video, and let me know what you think!

If you want some hacks on starting you on your journey, read our handbook on green marketing.