Blog: Marmite ad leaves bad taste with UK viewers
Michelle Russell | 7 August 2013
Unilever has received a backlash from viewers and animal rights campaigners in just 24 hours of viewing its new Marmite advert in the UK.
The premise of the ad, which aired for the first time on Monday, is that owners have neglected their jars of Marmite, which are then rescued by the pseudo inspectors for the Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals before being re-homed.
Choosing the sensitive subject of neglect is certain to be a risky one and Unilever now faces the possibility the ad could be banned for trivialising such a subject.
The 258 complaints the UK's Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) received in the 24 hours after its first showing certainly suggest this could be the case - the manufacturer, which trades on the marketing slogan 'Like It, Hate It, Just Don't Forget It' - may have misjudged the response of viewers.
The complainants say it is in poor taste while others maintain it is deeply offensive. Viewers turned to the brand's Facebook page to offer their opinions.
One suggested: "You might think its funny but animal neglect is not at all funny. This ad shows no regard for all those involved with animal welfare and I personally will no longer eat Marmite till this ad is pulled. Show some RESPECT and support for the many animals."
The 'Love it, Hate it' brand, however, garnered an equally positive response to the ad with the critics matched by a deluge of positive comments from viewers who enjoyed the humour and defended what they insisted was a funny message.
"I thought your new advert was the funniest advert for a long time, I have no idea why it received so many complaints, it was brilliant!" one viewer wrote.
A spokesperson for the ASA said the complaints have just been received so no decision on whether it will investigate had yet been taken. "We're currently logging and assessing the complaints," he said.
As the brand suggests, you either 'Love it or Hate it'. Unilever appears to have successfully carried this message through to its television advertising, which certainly appears to have split opinion - as the company may have hoped.
Premier Foods plc revealed today (28 March) it has secured a deal with its pension scheme trustees that will see the UK food maker reduce its pension burden....
Mexican bakery giant Grupo Bimbo has taken Entenmann's, one of its US bread brands, into the country's chocolate sector....
Hain Celestial, under the scrutiny of the investment community in recent months and facing some challenges in its domestic market, has announced another shuffling of its management pack....
FrieslandCampina, which today served up higher profits but lower sales for 2016, is ready to offload the last non-dairy business owned by the Dutch cooperative giant....
To follow on from our earlier notice and after some hard work from our technical team, just-food is back live after today's power outage....
- Why personalisation will take-off in US food
- General Mills sales woes continue - analysis
- US food next wave on display at Winter Fancy Food
- Comment: Meal kits in US - don't believe the hype
- Analysis: Chocolate sector's deforestation pledge
- Kraft Heinz cuts jobs in US, Canada
- Mondelez set for union crosshairs next week
- Recipe-kit firm HelloFresh launches into UK retail
- Mondelez plays down impact of union action
- Germany's Haribo plans first US candy plant