Getting ads banned is a planned PR and advertising strategy

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Various advertisements are designed to be banned so that the resulting earned media gets the ad more eyeballs than if it ran without the ban.

The recent Iceland Christmas orangutan TV ad is the latest in a string of advertisements that have been banned in the UK. The advertisement was created originally by Greenpeace and selected by Iceland because they knew it would be banned for being considered as ‘political’. This is a common Public Relations and advertising technique called ‘controversial marketing’.

The objective is to cause a scandal in the press that generates public interest in the campaign, then an online petition magically appears on social media to share the story, and it becomes viral. The benefit to the company is not to spend money on buying media space, and have the press and public effectively become the broadcasters by sharing the ad on social media and in the news. This productively allows Iceland to save hundreds of thousands or even millions of pounds from buying airtime on media channels. In Iceland’s case the ad has been seen millions of times despite having never aired once on television.

Another example appeared this summer was Beyond Life funeral ads that were banned by TFL (Transport For London) because the edgy copy promised “roasting temperatures” for a “low cost cremation” service. The ads were later toned down, but not before the “offensive” original versions were shared on Twitter by the company and mentioned in various news platforms for over three days, hence allowing the brand to broadcast its campaign for free.

Great be helping open up the conversation around death. Its our shared reluctance to talk about death that creates an environment where we can be ripped off by predatory firms,https://t.co/8H7UVscA60
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