Iceland partners with Disney for Frozen-inspired Christmas campaign

Iceland is returning to a more traditional festive campaign after its divisive Rang Tan ad last year, with the focus on telling the ‘untold story’ around frozen food and the role it can play at Christmas.

Iceland is hoping to bring some “warmth and magic” to the frozen food category this Christmas with the help of Elsa, Anna, Kristoff, Olaf and Sven, the animated stars of Frozen 2 and the retailer’s festive ad campaign.

The collaboration with Disney – which has been in the pipeline since the middle of 2018 – kicks off with a 40-second TV spot on ITV this evening (1 November).

Coinciding with the release of Frozen 2 at the end of November, the ads feature exclusive custom animations that Walt Disney Animation Studios created for Iceland. They bring Frozen 2’s characters together for a traditional game of charades and to celebrate their favourite things about Christmas.

Iceland 2018’s campaign saw it borrow Greenpeace’s ‘Rang Tan’ ad, which highlighted the issue of deforestation but had been banned because Greenpeace is seen as a political organisation, and proved divisive.

Iceland’s marketing director, Neil Hayes, tells Marketing Week it felt right to return to a more traditional Christmas campaign this year.

There’s a real focus on letting people understand the value and quality of frozen food.

Neil Hayes, Iceland

“Last year, we worked for just over 12 months to remove palm oil from all our products so Christmas felt like the right opportunity to celebrate that success,” Hayes says.

“This year, it felt like the right thing to move back to a traditional advertising campaign and sell the brilliant products and offer that we’ve got in our stores.”

But this doesn’t mean Iceland’s cause-related marketing days are over, and Hayes says he is “absolutely convinced” Iceland will run more sustainability campaigns in future.

“But from my point of view it’s the most genuine when you mark a milestone and when you’ve achieved something,” he says.

“Our big objective is to remove single-use plastic at the moment and when we complete that milestone, we will celebrate it with something hopefully as epic as Rang Tan.”

Elevating the role of frozen food

Iceland hopes the ad can elevate the role of frozen food at Christmas by showing its value and quality.

“There’s a huge untold story around frozen food and the role it can play at Christmas. There’s a real focus on letting people understand the value and quality of frozen food,” says Hayes.

“We’re also really confident. We think it’s a nice message and will resonate with our customers and attract some new ones to store too.”

In addition to the hero ad, Iceland will run a number of 30-second product-focused films, as well as digital and social activity, press and a “small amount” of out-of-home activity in London.

But TV remains the most important channel for Iceland at Christmas.

“Television advertising for us at Christmas has been, and for the foreseeable future will be, the real centre of our campaign, both spend-wise and what we can communicate,” Hayes says. “When you think about the value that Disney brings, the quality of animation and brand warmth and story, that is best communicated via moving pictures.”

Iceland’s ‘Rang-tan’ Christmas ad the most likely to make people buy

Iceland will also advertise on Disney’s digital and TV channels.

“As you can imagine, those channels are pretty heavily booked with toy retailers and toy brands but they’ve got a huge fan base so it’s a good channel for us to talk to people on,” Hayes says.

In addition, Iceland and Disney Kitchen have co-developed a range of Frozen 2 products, which Hayes says have been “selling really well” in-store since the start of October. These include Olaf Shaped Noses and Icicle Lollies, which start from £1.

Iceland is selling a range of non-food items as well, including a one-metre tall Jumbo Olaf soft toy, which Iceland claims is the largest of its kind in the UK.