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ChangingMinds Blog! > Blog Archive > 10-Oct-07


Wednesday 10-October-07

Marmite: like it or loathe it

There's a peculiar spread in Britain called 'Marmite' that is made from yeast extract. It's a black, shiny, sludgy substance that people put on toast and in sandwiches. Brits abroad miss it a lot and have been known to get special supplies sent over to them.

Marmite has a strong, salty taste that has an interesting effect in that people either love it or loathe it -- there is no middle ground, it seems. Rather cleverly, Marmite has picked on this and rather than promote it universally, their ads highlight the like-or-loathe characteristic, for example with Marmite-eaters running after the haters in a comedy-style chase. Another smart move is that the ads do not portray the haters as stupid or otherwise inferior -- they just don't appreciate the product and hey, that's OK! Marmite aren't greedy - half the nation consuming their product is just fine.

Their latest ad uses Paddington Bear, a lovable TV character who, despite having been raised in Peru, is a British archetype. Paddington sits on a doorstep, happily munching his Marmite sandwich when a pigeon hops by. The kindly Paddington throws the pigeon a crumb who, after tasting it does a cartoon feathers-out, tongue-out mega-bleah.

You can watch the ad here. And, in this day of movies about the movie, you can watch how they made the ad here.

Being able to use Paddington is a great scoop for Marmite and the character has both Britishness and gentle humour, both of which are core to the long-term advertising strategy. More power to their elbow.

In case you're wondering, I'm a Marmite lover. Mmmmarmite! .

Your comments

 I love marmite too - but...........

I hate the ad because it just isn't true to Paddington Bear. He ALWAYS had marmalade sandwiches - he just would NEVER have eaten marmite.

-- Lesley

Dave replies:
My goodness, you're right, Lesley. How about marmite and marmalade sandwiches? That would be an interesting mix...

Try Beetroot, Marmite and wholemeal bread sandwiches. Have a go with and without butter. love it!

-- Ray

Dave replies:
Sounds wonderful! Marmite, onion and toast cheese with beans and cornflakes on top is nice too.

HELP ME!! Have i got an illness because...I don't hate marmite I think it's alright I don't mind people eating and if someone put it on toast for me when I was visiting a friend I would eat it and I reckon its ok but I don't love it I don't go around preaching about it and dreaming of it or even asking for it over anything else so I'm in the middle!! ur website says I can't be! HELP ME PLEASE!

-- Mr Harry I Cunningham

Dave replies:
Hmm. Sounds like you're a swing voter, Harry. I'd keep your head down or you'll get the activists around knocking on your door. Or you could just go for it and plump either way. Here's a test: Have a spoonful of marmite in a cup of hot water. If you like it, you're definitely a marmiteer. If you don't finish it, you're in the opposite camp.

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