Marmite Rescue Team ad cleared despite 504 complaints

Marmite's controversial ad featuring neglected tubs of the yeast extract spread will not be investigated by the Advertising Standards Authority, despite the number of complaints hitting 504.

Marmite: rescue ad cleared by the ASA
Marmite: rescue ad cleared by the ASA

The complaints have been about both the online and TV versions of the ad, created by Adam & Eve/DDB, and have maintained the ads were "irresponsible" and offensive".

Complainants argued the ad "trivialised the abuse of children and animals as well as the work of child and animal protection services", were "unsuitable to be seen by children" and "might cause distress to people who had been victims of abuse".

However, the ASA found there were no grounds to take action because although some people might find the ads "distasteful", most would "recognize the ads were a spoof".

It concluded that, therefore, the ads were unlikely to cause serious or widespread offence, to cause fear or distress to children, or to be irresponsible.

The ASA also found the ads were "light-hearted in tone" and so did not trivialise issues of abuse or the work of children- and animal-protection services.

Subscribe to Campaign from just £57 per quarter

Includes the weekly magazine and quarterly Campaign IQ, plus unrestricted online access.


Looking for a new job?

Get the latest creative jobs in advertising, media, marketing and digital delivered directly to your inbox each day.

Create an Alert Now

1 How Sainsbury's ads revolutionised the UK's food culture

Abbott Mead Vickers' press ads for Sainsbury's in the 1980s formed the most influential and culturally significant campaign the UK has ever produced, argues Paul Burke.

Just published