Adwatch: Love Marmite but on the fence about its latest campaign

Marmite lover Jo Coombs, chief executive of OgilvyOne, thinks its latest ad is too spoof to be taken seriously.

The strongest point about the campaign is the film; it’s such a simple idea, playful and fun (my favourite kind) and it’s quintessentially British so you’ll probably only get it if you grew up watching ‘Enders.  It’s likeable and relatable.

Marmite has always strived to be a brand that has a place in the British home, and this ad takes us into those homes, to those kitchen tables, and shows us those families. It takes us to a place where husbands have illicit affairs and kids find out the darkest family secrets.

Like all great British TV, it builds a highly emotionally narrative that you’d expect to see in any soap, and throws us fully into the drama.  It taps into the national psyche, entertains us and like all good soaps gets us talking..."so, are you…?".

But this is where the campaign idea falls down. As an engagement campaign it’s pretty weak.

As a lifelong Marmite lover, I don’t need to take a test to confirm my love of Marmite, however I am a science geek, so the idea of doing a DNA test is pretty cool.  But not £89 quid cool.  That price point will put off the most ardent lover.  OK I thought, for the sake of curiosity, I’ll give the free online facial recognition test a go instead.  The results showed that I was only 58% Lover, this instantly made me query the authenticity of the whole campaign!

And that’s my real problem with the idea; it’s neither fact nor fiction. It’s too spoof to be taken seriously but those who do, then have to expend too much effort (or cash) to engage with it. If you go on the campaign hashtag, no one’s showing off their test results.  And more importantly, I doubt it’s translated into sales.

The campaign feels like a dead end. If it’s just about DNA, where do you go from there?  I would have stayed in the fiction world, where it’s fun but not real.  A world full of different products, recipes and egg cups and where lovers think they can convert haters.