The big freeze: Iceland partners Disney's Frozen 2 for Christmas spot

Ad features characters from hit franchise playing game of charades.

In what could be one of the most logical and inevitable brand/media partnerships of all time, Iceland has teamed up with Disney to create a Christmas ad featuring characters from the eagerly awaited animated film Frozen 2, which hits cinemas on 22 November. 

The 40-second TV ad, which debuts today, opens with a live-action scene of a family playing charades, in which a boy lifts up a large stuffed toy of Frozen character Olaf, which will be available to buy in Iceland stores. As Olaf is thrown into the air, he comes to life through CGI animation and is joined by the other three main characters: Anna, Elsa and Kristoff. 

The spot was created by Iceland and Disney’s in-house creative agency, and was produced by Walt Disney Animation Studios. The partnership was facilitated by Iceland’s media agency, the7stars. It has been in the works for more than a year, meaning the process started before Iceland appointed Leo Burnett as its new advertising agency in April.

Speaking to Campaign, Iceland marketing director Neil Hayes said the concept started even before the decision on last year’s high-profile Christmas campaign, in which Iceland repurposed the Greenpeace film "Rang-tan" to promote its efforts to remove palm oil from its products. "Rang-tan" generated a massive social media response for Iceland after the film was blocked from being shown on TV by Clearcast, due to Greenpeace’s classification as a political organisation.

Despite the success of that campaign, Hayes said it had never been a consideration to do a similar follow-up. "The reason we did 'Rang-tan' is we’d worked tirelessly removing palm oil from our products," he said, but this year there is no equivalent milestone. 

"Our next big goal is the removal of single-use plastic by 2023 – it wouldn’t feel right to celebrate that yet," he continued. "We’ve effected a huge change, we’re incredibly proud, we’ve had that moment. When we get to a really big landmark, yes, we’re quite open to celebrating that through our advertising."

As well as the obvious association between the frozen-food retailer and the name of the Disney franchise, Hayes said the partnership had appealed to Disney in part because research for the film had involved visiting Iceland the country (which in the past has not always seen eye to eye with Iceland the retailer). 

The creative idea was about "harnessing all that warmth that Disney bring", Hayes said, but he also suggested that the family-friendly nature of the material had other benefits: "Hopefully, this one doesn’t get banned."

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