Hot brands to watch in 2016: Marmite

Over the next two weeks we take a look at some of the hottest brands making waves on the experiential scene; next up is Marmite.

The brand hosted a socially-powered Marmite Love Café to find out if consumers were lovers or haters
The brand hosted a socially-powered Marmite Love Café to find out if consumers were lovers or haters

Marmite has gone from being a humble divisive condiment to one of Unilever’s power brands in the past few years. It cemented this further in 2015 with a raft of experiential campaigns.

The biggest was the Marmite Love Café, which popped up in London’s Soho on 4 and 5 August. It featured a socially-powered ‘Love-o-meter’ that scanned guests’ twitter feeds to measure whether they were a lover or hater based on social media sentiment.

For Philippa Atkinson, assistant brand manager for Marmite, it was the stand-out experience of her year. "The Café perfectly encapsulated the theme of the new jars, ‘Summer of Love’ and ‘Summer of Hate’, as well as reflecting the key messaging that we aimed to communicate," she said.

"Not only did the Marmite Love Café provide a fun environment for customers to taste the new Marmite variant, but the social media powered ‘love-o-meter’ also provided an interactive experience that drew people into the store and allowed us to engage with and speak to them about the new product. What’s more, we generated some fantastic coverage both before and during the activity, therefore getting the word out far and wide about the limited edition jars."

She added that the psychedelic styling of the pop-up, which featured a vintage record player, lava lamps and hippy flowers, perfectly reflected Marmite’s overall branding – one Atkinson views as "consistently fun and light-hearted".

Fresher’s Week in September and October was marked by a sampling tour of university campuses. This was less of a brand-building exercise and more about promoting the product itself as the perfect snack when munchies strike mid-library session. The brand wrapped up the year with another pop-up, this time to promote its personalised jar offering with a fun, festive installation at Westfield in London.

Atkinson agrees that 2015 was the year of experiential for Marmite. "It has definitely featured more this year than others, as we’re beginning to realise that the fun and exciting elements of the brand really lend themselves to experiential campaigns," she explains. "We tend to find that our fans enjoy the ‘hands-on’ experience that the likes of the Love Café can offer, and it gives us the chance to get people enjoying the product in real time."

And as for this year? "Having seen how successful the experiential activity has been this year, in terms of getting consumers to engage with the brand and adding a real ‘talk-ability’ element, we will definitely continue this heading into 2016," says Atkinson. "It’s really important to us to create campaigns and activities that our fans can get involved with, and the more occasions we can offer for people to enjoy their favourite spread, the better."

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