Wednesday, August 14, 2013
Marmite. Love it or hate it?
Bizarre though it may seem to my American colleagues, I love Marmite. Yes, the savory spread that has been described as a cross between cheese and shoe polish makes a regular appearance in my kitchen, usually spread on toast for breakfast. To many, this is conclusive proof that although I carry a U.S. passport, I am still, at heart, British by culture.
The good news is that my frequent use of Marmite means that I will never have to endure a visit from the Marmite rescue squad (that, and the fact that I live in the U.S.). What, you might ask, is the Marmite rescue team? It is the subject of an ad recently released on British TV as part of the brand's End Marmite Neglect campaign. Apparently, one in 10 Brits admitted they have not opened their jar of Marmite for more than three months, and it is the job of the rescue squad to save them from such abuse. You can watch the ad and read more about the campaign here.
I have to admit I find the ad funny, but apparently some do not. More than 250 viewers complained to the UK’s Advertising Standards Authority that the advert ridicules the work of animal and child protection organizations and is "offensive" and "in poor taste." I suspect that this was exactly the reaction Marmite was looking for, since the brand’s advertising has been based around the idea of “Love It or Hate It” for many years.
Unlike the series of TV ads depicting suicide, I can find little reprehensible about the Marmite ad. It is a parody, pure and simple. It does not portray acts of neglect or violence against children and animals. Nor do I believe it trivializes the role of people who do seek to help the neglected and abused. If anything, it perhaps reminds people of this unfortunate fact of life in a way that seems less emotionally threatening than the typical public service ad.
Complaining about things is as quintessentially British as liking Marmite. A long time ago there was a joke doing the rounds in Australia that drew attention to this national characteristic,
Q: How do you know another plane load of Poms (Brits) have landed?
A: The plane goes on whining when the engines are turned off.
So jolly good show, you chaps at Marmite, you clearly understand the British psyche, played a blinder and got the result you wanted, yes? And if this post offends anyone, I suggest they follow this (slightly amended) advice from the Marmite spoof: hate it and forget it. If you have been, thanks for reading and please do share your thoughts.
This entry was posted on Wednesday, August 14, 2013
and is filed under Brands, Creative.
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