creative impulse

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The Independent Online
Why, you may have asked yourself in recent weeks, is one TV ad for Marmite singing the praises of the product, while another apparently denigrates it? The creators give their explanation below. One television ad, with the familiar "My mate Marmite" slogan, shows the distinctive jar being lovingly stroked and polished, while a second, entitled "I hate Marmite", depicts the jar as a pin cushion and a brick being thrown into a pond. The advertising will continue to run nationally until the spring.

The client: CPC (UK)

Amanda Hawkins, marketing manager

Basically, the brief to the agency was to increase the frequency of usage of the product among young people. If you were given Marmite as a young child by your mother, you tend to stay with it for life. But as you grow up, and start making your own food choices, it tends to disappear from your food repertoire, and is unlikely to reappear until you have children of your own. There is, then, a gap in product usage among people aged between 20 and 30. We feel they could be eating more Marmite, and so we want to get the brand out of the cupboard and back into their lives. We also wanted to make it OK for these people to eat it - to make it more fashionable, and less mumsy.

There is also the fact that this is a product that people either love or hate. The "My mate ..." ad is to make the people who love the product feel good about it, and the "I hate ..." ad recognises that people who hate it are not going to come into the brand in a million years. We're trying to bring Marmite to the front of people's minds, and also challenge people who've never tried it to find out what camp they're in.

The agency: BMP-DDB

Simon Little, board account director

The need to direct the brand towards the 20-30 age group dictated the tone of voice of this advertising. But first, we went out and did a lot of qualitative and quantitative research to make sure not only that we were hitting the right tone, but also that we weren't alienating our broader audience - mothers with children, for example.

Really good advertising stems from a truth about the product, and the truth about Marmite is that people either love or hate the taste of it - there is no middle ground. That was the creative spur, and we decided to go for something slightly anarchic, to capture the attention and imaginations of our target age group. Our idea was to have a series of dramatic vignettes that would appeal to young people, on the one hand showing people who adore the product, and on the other showing a bunch of people who can't stand it. Basically, we wanted the sort of visuals that would make lapsed users reappraise Marmite; we weren't aiming to convert people with this campaign.