The Advertising Standards Authority has got 250 complaints that the ad is in poor taste, deeply offensive or trivialises the work of both animal welfare charities such as the RSPCA and child protection agencies.
The ASA is currently logging and assessing the complaints and will decide whether to launch an investigation in the coming weeks.
On Facebook some viewers complained the ad was in "poor taste" and "makes a mockery of animal rescue", while others said "political correctness" drives them mad or that the ad "had [them] in stitches".
The Marmite spot is the latest in a line of ads that have offended the animal welfare lobby.
Last year’s Morrisons Christmas ad by DLKW Lowe was criticised for showing a dog eating a Christmas pudding, while a Big Al’s Creative Emporium ad for Paddy Power was slammed for featuring a "blind" football player kicking a cat.
A 90-second version of the spot launched on Monday (5 August). The campaign will run until October with the TV being supported by outdoor, digital, experiential, PR and social media executions.
The ad, which was created by Adam & Eve/DDB, features Marmite Rescue Teams saving neglected jars of Marmite from the backs of people’s cupboards.
The ad was created by Nick Sheppard and Tom Webber, and directed by James Rouse.
A spokeswoman for Unilever said: "It is never our intention to cause offence. This is the first time Marmite has been on television for two years and we have made every effort to ensure that this commercial entertains anyone who watches it.
"It ranked highly throughout our rigorous testing process and with clear branding from the outset, as well as the comedic tone, we believe we have created an unmistakably Marmite ad – people will either love it or hate it and they certainly won’t forget it.
"We hope that everyone will watch and enjoy this commercial in the light-hearted way it was intended."