Love it or hate it, Marmite has been positioned as a product that divides opinion for many years. Built upon and embracing the fact that some people adore it and others, well, not so much, it’s always been great fun. Until now.
A storm has blown up over the product’s latest TV ad, which depicts workers rescuing jars of neglected Marmite from the back of kitchen cupboards as if they were neglected pets. For me, it’s a stroke of genius, not only for being hilarious, entertaining and reflecting the brand’s persona beautifully, but for the fact that it’s based, once again, on insight. That insight being a consumer study which revealed that one in ten people haven’t opened their jar of Marmite for three months. See? Clever.
But apparently not everyone’s as impressed as me. In just two days, more than 400 people have complained to the Advertising Standards Authority about the ad being “offensive to the work of animal protection agencies” and being “in poor taste”. (As an aside, if I were Marmite I’d be all over the “poor taste” complaint like a rash!)
Seriously? 400 people have nothing better to do with their time than to make an official complaint about the advertising for a savoury spread?! Give me a break…
Marmite is so well-known for its brand positioning that the name is now used as an adjective to describe something that divides opinion. As in, ‘David Beckham is a bit marmite’. So for the life of me, I don’t understand how anyone can take offence to what is simply a bit of fun. When did we lose our sense of humour, people?!
A spokesperson for the brand has said that the ad itself is supposed to be marmite: some people will love it, some people will hate it, but they won’t forget it. They did clarify, however, that it wasn’t intended to cause offence. And in a nice bit of PR, Marmite manufacturer Unilever has donated £18,000 to the RSPCA.
But to my mind, it should never have had to. It’s nothing short of preposterous to suggest that this ad is disrespectful to animal protection agencies. If anything, it promotes them. Doesn’t it?
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Posted by Paul Sutton