News & Views

Marmite / End Marmite Neglect

by Contagious Team

Food spread launches tongue-in-cheek appeal to rehouse mistreated jars

Unilever-owned Marmite has launched a nationwide campaign to stop people 'neglecting' the famous spread, the brand's first new television campaign in two years.

The ad, embedded above, shows a Marmite rescue team calling on houses where they suspect people may be mistreating the product. BBC newsreader Michael Buerk offers the voiceover and ends the advert by saying, 'Love it or hate it, just don't forget it.' 

microsite urges people to support the cause by either 'donating' or 'nominating'. Those selecting to donate can send a tweet, post on Facebook or add a 'twibbon' to their profile picture. Those wanting to nominate can select up to three friends to alert. All those taking part stand to win a limited edition pack of Marmite goodies for their troubles. 

The campaign is based on a survey conducted by the brand, which found one in ten Brits admitting they haven't opened their jar of Marmite for over three months. 

Via adam & eve DDB, London. 

Following 278 complaints made to the Advertising Standards Authority, (as of 8/8/2013) Marmite has announced that it will make an £18,000 ($28,000) donation to the RSPCA)

Contagious Insight      

This caused some mixed feelings amongst the Contagious office. On the one hand, it's a smart evolution of the brand's famous 'Love it or Hate it' positioning. It's built on the insight that most of us have a jar of Marmite somewhere in our cupboards, but it certainly isn't sitting at a proud place in the front. For some, the video is a witty take on the stereotypical charity adverts that show pets in distress, being saved from their owners. 

On the other hand, could this topic be construed as a little too mocking of the vital work that charities like the RSPCA do, and of the shocking cruelty that animals and humans can be exposed to in the home environment? For some, this is bound to resonate badly, especially as the tragic story of Daniel Pelka (a boy who was abused and neglected, and died of his injuries) has been covered by all major news sources in the UK recently.

Indeed, the campaign has already received backlash in the form of some 250 consumer complaints to the Advertising Standards Authority. 'It is never our intention to cause offence,' a Marmite spokeswoman told The Guardian. 'We hope that everyone will watch and enjoy this commercial in the lighthearted way it was intended.'

Of course from Marmite's perspective a little controversy is a good thing, and supports the brand's 'love or hate' positioning further. No doubt the brand will be hoping, though, that there are enough people loving the advert to stand up against the disapproving remarks in the weeks to come.
This story originally appeared on Contagious Feed. Contagious Feed is our bespoke trends, inspiration, insight and analysis service, providing daily innovative marketing intelligence across a comprehensive range of sectors to brands and agencies across the world. For more information about Contagious Feed contact