Unilever’s Marmite is resurrecting its controversial animal rescue spoof as part of a ‘mockumentary’ campaign with a strong digital element.
The tongue-in-cheek fake documentary is only available online, promising to lay bare the “continuing scourge of Marmite Neglect” in the UK and warning of an imminent “full-scale Marmageddon”.
Shot in a newsreel style, the teaser features scenes of security officials monitoring security feeds and Dispatches-style undercover interviews.
Meanwhile a TV ad will launch in the UK next week, pretending to expose the “continuing scourge of Marmite Neglect” in the UK
The previous campaign claimed thousands of Marmite jars across the UK were being neglected, with one in 10 Brits admitting they hadn’t opened a jar in three months.
The marketing push in 2013 attracted criticism with advertising standards chiefs receiving 500 complaints around claims the advert seemed to mimic an animal cruelty documentary.
The spread-makers received complaints via Twitter and Facebook for “trivialising” the work of animal welfare groups.
The complaints led to Marmite owner Unilever donating £18,000 to the RSPCA.
Advertising Standards Agency said the adverts were “light-hearted in tone and did not trivialise issues of abuse or denigrate the work of child and animal protection services”.
The campaign was reported to have boosted sales by 14%. The new one-minute teaser kicks off the 2015 Marmite campaign with the TV ad set to air on Monday, January 12.
The launch is backed by a call to spread the #MarmiteNeglect hashtag with Marmite inspired by the role social media played in sparking a 14 per cent value sales jump during the first campaign.
Unilever credited the sales spike to pivotal social media work after it reached more than one million Marmite Facebook fans and over 35,000 Twitter followers over an eight week period.
Joanne O’Riada, Marmite brand manager, said the campaign will be “digital-first” and deliver a light-hearted reminder of the ‘Love it. Hate it. Just don’t forget it’ strapline”.
It is the same concept Unilever used the first time round in 2013 when it wanted to create buzz around the brand’s return to TV after two years. The marketing ploy worked but also angered more than 500 viewers who felt the advert trivialised animal cruelty. The Advertising Standards Authority investigated the claims but concluded the advert was not offensive.
The teaser was created by W Communications and Gas & Electric, while Adam & Eve/DDB developed the actual campaign.