This year’s Christmas adverts are being released thick and fast and as per usual, they’re providing some great conversation starting points. I think everyone has a favourite one each year and it can be difficult to narrow it down to find your personal top spot by the time they’ve all graced the screen.

I think Christmas adverts are the only ones any of us really pay any attention to. We see them interrupting our favourite soaps and documentaries every fifteen minutes throughout the year but can you honestly remember any from the past twelve months? The only one that jumps to mind for me is the DFS advert, and that’s only because they’re still advertising their never-ending sale. Other than that, no idea. I only pay attention if they’re funny or informative but I remember the content rather than the actual company behind the concept.

Everyone seems to look forward to the John Lewis advert each year because it’s normally the first one that comes out that makes you feel all warm and fuzzy inside. They set out to make us laugh, cry and feel every emotion in between. The John Lewis team somehow manage to tell a story in the space of a couple of minutes and leave us thinking of it for hours later.

Although this year, I think they’ve been knocked off the top spot and haven’t a hope of claiming the crown back. The reason is twofold.

Firstly, I wasn’t all that bowled over by the John Lewis advert this year. While it was a lovely rendition of Elton John singing “Your Song”, it seemed more like an advert for a ‘This is Your Life’ style documentary on the bloke rather than trying to encourage the general public to spend their hard-earned cash with John Lewis. I like listening to music as much as the next person, but the advertisement really doesn’t tell you anything about the store or their festive stock. The closest link I can find is that they’re stocking a fair number of keyboards and pianos this year. Hardly a hyped product.

And that’s what any advert should do first and foremost. Unless viewers know exactly who is behind the advert, it doesn’t matter how good the advert is or how stunning the cinematography, it simply becomes a one-shot skit. Make it memorably by all means, but make sure people are talking about the company as well as what they saw.

Thus, the Iceland Christmas advert is claiming my top spot for the year and I’m confident that no-one is going to knock them off the chart.

They’ve played it pretty cleverly with their advert this year. They took what was originally a Greenpeace film about rainforest destruction and rebranded it to be used as their Christmas message. It features an adorable little animated orangutan called Rang-tan who has taken cover in a little girl’s bedroom after his home in the rainforest was destroyed. It was banned by regulators who based on the UK Code of Broadcast Advertising as it was deemed to be “too political” and it would appear that that decision is based on its origins as a Greenpeace piece.

Very smart indeed. After it became known that the advert was banned, the public flocked online to find this oh-so-controversial advert. We’ve all seen the advert despite the TV ban and it’s the advert everyone is talking about. The minute and a half clip has so far been viewed more than 30 million times and it has sparked petitions, increased general awareness and caused some to reconsider their shopping habits. However, the ultimate aim has been reached for both parties concerned. Iceland have millions of people thinking about them for their Christmas shopping and Greenpeace have got the message about deforestation out to the masses.

We do need to be more conscious about where our food comes from. There are people who just take it for granted that water comes from the tap and burgers magically appear in the butchers. It’s

not that there’s anything wrong with eating these products, but it doesn’t take much to make sure they’re sourced as sustainably and humanely as possible. We’re lucky that we live in such a rural area that we grow up surrounded by farms and local farmers often offer up their time to allow school trips to ensure a well-rounded education of primary school pupils so it means we aren’t shocked at the thought that milk comes from cows and bacon comes from pigs. Iceland are simply taking that education a step further and showing us the consequences of choosing products that contain palm oil.

Admittedly it may not be the most festive of adverts but really, there are only so many versions of Santa Claus, jingling bells and fluffy snow that you can take in before they all merge together in your mind to become one. Soon you forget if Santa was favouring a chocolate cake for dessert or planning to unwind with a laptop on Boxing Day. The poor cub is just so in demand at this time of year.

I personally think that Iceland were right to take this bold step. I would guess that they knew that they would be causing some controversy and given that we all like a bit of a scandal, that it would work in their favour but the theme isn’t all that surprising if you’re someone who already shops there often.

They pledged months ago to remove palm oil from all of their own brand products by the end of the year and are making efforts to remove all unnecessary plastics by 2023. That’s more than other retailers have done so we have to applaud them for that regardless of this being a clever ploy or not.