Love it or hate it, Marmite is here to stay but many animal lovers hope that its new TV advertisement is not.
The commercial shows neglected jars of Marmite being collected by ‘Marmite welfare officers’ and being taken to a rescue centre to be rehomed. It is shot in the style of a documentary with the faces of children appearing in the advert as ‘bad owners’ being pixilated. Reporter Michael Buerk provides the emotive voice over.
The ad appeared for the first time on Monday night during Coronation Street and within 24 hours prompted 250 complaints from animal lovers.
Comments varied from “in poor taste” to “thoroughly offensive” and it was generally felt that the ad undermines the work of animal welfare charities.
Unilever, who are the company that make Marmite, was surprised that their commercial misfired to such an extent. It had been ranked highly during the rigorous tests that all new commercials are put through and it was thought that the ad maintained Marmite’s quirky approach to “you either love it or hate but you certainly won’t forget it.” A spokesperson for the company said that it certainly was not the intention to cause offence.
The RSPCA have said that they understand why some people have taken offence and are willing to talk to Unilever to suggest ways in which they can “work together on animal welfare.”