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PR Blog marmite-pot

Published on March 29th, 2010


Blog: The new Marmite ‘election’ brand campaign

This week sees the start of launch of the new Marmite brand campaign. We are big fans of of emotional branding and over the past decade Marmite has become a leader in ‘brand entertainment’ – amusing consumers in innovative and challenging ways.

The British yeast extract is over 100 years old and is a British cultural icon. Introduced over 100 years ago, the formula and packaging of the basic spread product has remained largely unchanged.

Successive product campaigns have attempted to stretch and extend the brand into other categories, some more successfully than others. Marmite co branded stock cubes, breadsticks, rice cakes, cheeses – and earlier this year, cereal bars have all been launched but none coming near to the core product’s enduring success.

Once marketed on it’s health giving properties (“Good for you”) in the war years, promotion of the brand has seen some memorable campaigns. The 1980’s relaunch as “My mate – Marmite” was particularly successful.

But it wasn’t until owner Unilever took the bold move of addressing the extreme emotional reactions that such a strong tasting product elicits from consumers, that their brand campaigns started to generate real impact.

The ‘Love it or hate it’ campaigns, focussing in its divisive product truth have evolved over the past decade delivering some memorable campaigns

Marmite has always been a brand to leverage new marketing media and it’s a natural step for the brand to be playing in social media. Indeed given the emotions the brand stirs up it make it perfect for Facebook, corralling the fiercely loyal and anti-Marmite communities together.

It’ll be fascinating to watch how this latest multi channel brand campaign develops. Marmite is the first brand out of the blocks to piggyback on the forthcoming general election campaign with it’s ‘Parallel Election’. The campaign takes the Love/Hate creative one step further with a call to action for consumers to vote for one of two spoof candidates – Fay Freely for The Love Party (‘Spread the Love’) or Steve Heaving running for the Hate Party (‘Stop the Spread’).

What makes the campaign truly engaging is the lengths the brand goes to lampoon it’s own product in the guise of the Hate Party which promises in the event of victory to create a Spread Offenders List, designated Marmite eating zones and even renaming the product ‘Tarmite’.

What is a shame and threatens to ruin the whole campaign is that fact that The Hate Party has only 8 fans on Facebook at the time of writing – and the Love Party has over 260,000. More than a little suspicious and suggests more than a little vote rigging – those engaged with the campaign to vote either way will naturally check out voting on both sides. There could be trouble ahead… The ATL campaign proper kicks off over the next few days. We’ll be keeping an eye out to see how it develops towards it’s closing date of 29th April and how they generate traditional PR and leverage brand advocates – and detractors using social media – clearly crucial components of the campaign.

By the way – I’ve just voted for the Hate Party. Just to even things out a little…

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