Marmite. One of the more polarising spreads on the market. But what are we thinking about their latest campaign advert? Do we love it or hate it?

Marmite has been a marketing marvel since 1996 when the brand initially launched the ‘Love it or Hate it’ campaign. The Guardian’s Arwa Mahdawi appropriately surmises that the campaign taps into a peculiarly English gluttony for punishment that is somewhat alien to Americans. The campaign is so strong that the notion of ’love it or hate it’ transcends traditional product marketing and has become a household term. Often we hear things described as being ‘like Marmite’, implying that the subject in question is very divisive. That kind of impact is every marketing manager’s dream.

Marmite’s most recent marketing venture is titled the “Marmite Gene Project,” where Marmite ‘scientists’ use DNA to find out who will be a ‘lover’ or a ‘hater’ of the spread in question. In a building campaign we are treated to the reactions of separate families. An expecting mother finds out her partner is a ‘hater’ and is distraught that she is “carrying a hater’s baby.” A young boy nervously announces to his father that he is in fact a ‘lover.’ And a family is pleased with their “all lovers” results, apart from their youngest who is adamant that he hates it. His mother sighs and expresses that “he’s never even tried it.” A statement that fellow parents will find all too familiar. Which is exactly what Marmite are counting on.

While each reaction is more comical than the last, the comedy stems from parodying situations that we as viewers instantly recognise. The situation sounds like the husband had cheated on his wife. The young boy came out to his father about his Marmite orientation. All dramatic formats that Marmite know we will understand.

A quick visit to the YouTube comments section gives you the exact reaction you would expect to this sort of advert; people either love it, or hate it. While divided as viewers are, the advert successfully pushes its unwavering ‘love it or hate it’ campaign further than we could have ever expected. Marmite carefully walks the line between absurdly comedic and outright offensive to the point at which viewers are discussing whether they love or hate Marmite before they have even considered the spread itself. Marmite has never been shy of controversy, just take a look at their End Marmite Neglect campaign from 2013.

But has it worked for you? Do you love it and want more adverts that push boundaries or do you hate it and feel they need to tone it back? Whatever Marmite-related alignment you are, the underlying point is that it definitely worked. Marmite’s ads now embody exactly what the brand means to the general public and if that isn’t genius marketing then we don’t know what is!

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Jo Nov 19th, 2017

About Jo Haywood

Jo is the Managing Director at Skylark Media. Before starting Skylark in 2005, Jo ran the BBC Lifestyle website and prior to that directed science documentaries for the BBC and Channel 4. To switch off she can be found on the tennis court, at yoga, or planting trees in the forest garden.