Iceland’s ‘Rang-tan’ film has gained over 70 million views according to the supermarket, while research has found it to be the most powerful Christmas ad of 2018.

The ad, a rebranded Greenpeace animation about an orangutan displaced by palm oil production, went viral after Iceland posted it on social media saying it had been banned from TV.

The 70 million online views came from across all social media channels as well as websites that subsequently hosted the video.

The film was blocked from TV by broadcast approval body Clearcast for breaking a rule in the advertising code against content from political organisations. A petition calling on Clearcast to overturn the decision has gained over a million signatures.

According to an Iceland spokeswoman, the campaign helped boost sales of mince pies, which have seen an 11% year-on-year uplift since the ad was launched on 9 November. Mince pies are one of Iceland’s products to go palm oil-free, a measure the retailer has committed to extend across all own-label ranges by the end of the year.

Meanwhile, research into the effectiveness of Christmas ads ranked Iceland’s top, ahead of other retailers including M&S, Sainsbury’s and John Lewis.

In a survey of 1,184 consumers, covering 22 brands, Iceland’s ad was rated top for 10 out of 12 factors including “persuasion”, “enjoyment” and “brand love”.

Researchers for Kantar Millward Brown’s annual study also analysed facial expression to gauge emotional response and found Iceland’s ad elicited the broadest range.

Amazon’s ad, in which boxes sing the Jackson 5 hit Can You Feel It, was second, followed by M&S and Aldi.

John Lewis’s ad, featuring Elton John, performed more poorly than expected based on previous years, with consumers feeling it lacked relevance and credibility.

A Kantar Millward Brown spokeswoman said: “John Lewis’s ad lacks the feel-good tone of previous years. Viewers found it surprising and a bit confusing.”

Iceland’s campaign was also voted top by The Grocer’s panel of experts in our 2018 Christmas ads review.