On Monday evening, I was watching a Dispatches documentary on Channel 4, titled Celebs, Brands and Fake fans, which although interesting, is not the focus of this post.
I expected that programme to cause some debate, but I didn’t expect an ad that ran the same evening to steal the headlines.
While watching the show, I caught the airing of the latest Marmite advert, which if you haven’t seen, you may have heard of it by now if you follow the mainstream media.
You can watch it here:
24 hours after the Ad aired, it had racked up 250 complaints to the Advertising Standards Authority, and by Thursday that figure had risen to 400 complaints.
It’s pretty clear to see that the Ad, which was created by by Adam & Eve/DDB, is based on an animal rescue theme, as it incorporates a Rescue Unit arriving in vans to shame owners when neglected Marmite jars are unearthed and taken to a re-homing centre, with the final slogan; love it hate it just don’t forget it.
This approach caused the complaints and Unilever (Marmite’s owner) responded on Thursday by making a £18,000 donation to the RSPCA.
A Marmite spokeswoman said that the donation to the RSPCA was made “to support the great work they are doing to combat animal cruelty“. She added that the company believed the ad was unmistakably Marmite:”People either love it or hate it and they certainly won’t forget it.”
Matt Cull, an RSPCA fundraiser, said: “Love the advert or hate it – we are thrilled to announce that Marmite have put their money where their mouth is and are spreading the love for animal welfare by making a donation to the RSPCA. Marmite have offered us £18,000 – which is how much it costs to run our inspectorate service for one day. This will make a massive difference to the animals and are very grateful for their generosity.”
From a marketing point of view the campaign is already proving a huge success. In fact I would say the backlash was expected and courted by the nature of the ad, and the donation has managed to take the potentially negative sting out of a contentious issue.
The ASA will announce next week whether it will launch an investigation into the ad. A spokesman for the advertising watchdog confirmed that it had also received a handful of emails and tweets in support of it.
As with Marmite, you either love or hate the Ad.