Iceland channels the 'Magic of Frozen' in Christmas campaign

Palm oil purpose has been swapped for the 'magic of Disney' in a Frozen-themed Christmas campaign that launched today.

Iceland channels the 'Magic of Frozen' in Christmas campaign

The ‘Magic of Frozen’ stars Frozen 2’s characters Elsa, Anna, Kristoff, Olaf and Sven in exclusive bespoke animations that Walt Disney Animation Studios created for Iceland.

It opens with a ‘real world’ family whose son starts a game of charades with help from his toy. 

Viewers are then magically transported into Arendelle in which a shapeshifting Olaf has come to life to deliver clues. 

It’s then Elsa’s go, and she uses magic to create a Christmas dinner table. Viewers are then taken back into the real world and watch the family indulging in Iceland’s "Perfect Christmas Dinner".

Frozen 2 is out in cinemas on November 22, which made the timing of this spot an ideal platform to promote the movie (and Iceland) in the run into Christmas.

The campaign will run on TV, across Iceland’s digital channels, with additional outdoor and press components.

Iceland will also stock exclusive Frozen 2 toys and food products in its stores, including a one-metre-tall Olaf toy, Olaf-shaped noses and icicle lollies.

PRWeek asked Iceland marketing director Neil Hayes whether the creative, which heavily features Disney characters and rather than Iceland products and branding, risks promoting ‘Frozen 2’ the movie, rather than ‘Iceland’ the supermarket.

"For sure, in theory that is a challenge for these types of partnerships and you always need to be the right balance so it is clear to people watching what it is doing," Hayes said.

"I think we’ve struck the right balance with the Disney team of promoting the film and bringing that warmth, magic and excitement to the audience, particularly our core audience that we believe will really engage with Frozen 2."

Why the change of tack?

The Frozen collaboration and creative is a markedly different tack to last year’s highly acclaimed Rang Tan spot, which raised awareness about Iceland’s efforts to eradicate palm oil use in its products and was controversially banned from TV. 

Ironically, this year’s campaign was being planned earlier than Rang Tan, even though Iceland had been working on its palm oil project for many months prior to campaign planning.

Hayes told PRWeek the "no brainer" opportunity to work with Disney on a Frozen collaboration was presented to him by the retailer’s media agency, The Seven Stars, weeks before Rang Tan came about.

"We actually knew what we were doing for Christmas 2019 before we knew what we were doing for Christmas 2018," he said.

Rang Tan was an opportunity for Iceland to "celebrate" a year’s worth of work to remove palm oil from its Iceland-branded products, which it has succeeded in doing.

The business continues to work on other social causes, such as its reliance on single-use plastics by the end of 2023, but the timing wasn’t right to run another purpose-led campaign this year. 

"Our view is that it only feels right to celebrate these achievements when we’ve hit that [2023] would feel  disingenuous to try and celebrate something at Christmas that’s part way through," Hayes said.

Rang Tan was successful in raising awareness about palm oil use in products and the video has been viewed more than 74 million times. 

Hayes said it also shifted the dial on Iceland’s brand index measurements for ‘impression’ and ‘awareness’, as well as a "halo effect on perception of quality".

"It had a really big and positive effect on our corporate reputation," he said. "But I couldn’t sit here and say hand on heart that we sold more mince pies off the back of that, but it didn’t do us any harm."

So how does Iceland plan to measure the success of this Christmas campaign?

The good old fashioned way for a retailer.

"It’s really simple – more people shopping at Iceland," Hayes said. "The metrics are really straightforward and we’ll know if it’s been successful on January 1."

Iceland’s Frozen campaign launches on ITV today (1 November).

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