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.
Danone completed its US$12.5bn acquisition of WhiteWave Foods this week. The move will roughly double Danone's presence in North America, where WhiteWave is a top four dairy player. ...
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....
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....
- Danone's Q1: four things to learn
- Interview: Sir Kensington's on sale to Unilever
- Column: Why snacking is the new meal
- Nestle Q1 update: four things to learn
- Interview: "Disruptive" snack brand Hippeas
- Tyson shops Sara Lee bakery, Kettle and Van's
- Nestle to cut UK confectionery jobs
- Icelandic to sell Saucy Fish Co. owner Seachill
- Tyson to buy burger-to-entree firm AdvancePierre
- PepsiCo affirms full-year target as Q1 hits mark