Which of these descriptions best captures the distinctive flavor of Marmite, the British food spread made from yeast extract?
A) A rich, satisfying, salty treat.
B) A puke-able paste of slippery slime.
Yum or yuck, people!? Which one will it be?
Obviously, that’s all a matter of taste. So, the much beloved (and reviled) Unilever brand harnessed the power of facial recognition for “TasteFace,” a digital experience that reads the grins and grimaces of Marmite eaters to determine whether they hate or love the stuff. (Just in case you don’t trust what your taste buds are telling you, apparently.)
Visit this site on your mobile phone, and the TasteFace web app, built on the Microsoft Emotion API, will even gauge your level of love or hate for the product on a scale of 0 to 100.
“Marmite has always divided the nation between love and hate. It’s a cultural phenomenon,” Simon Richings, creative partner at digital agency AnalogFolk, tells AdFreak. “But all this time Marmite have been questioning: Why? Is it fate? With TasteFace we wondered: What if we could use the emotion-reading capabilities of facial recognition technology to discover, in real time, whether you were born a lover or a hater?”
The online push is part of a broader “Marmite Gene Project” that purports to offer scientific evidence that some folks come into the world predisposed to like the stuff, while others are genetically programmed to spit it out after the first bite. There were even clinical trials with saliva cheek swabs to obtain DNA samples. (Or maybe that should be tongue-in-cheek swabs. Whichever.)
From a brand-building perspective, “we are encouraging the British public to revisit Marmite,” Richings says. “We know that some people have written off Marmite in the past, so innovations like TasteFace, while fun, also serve a real purpose.”
Naturally, you can share scintillating GIFs of your TasteFace results with friends via social media. We bet they’ll really appreciate that and not promptly unfriend you after making eye-roll faces of their own.
Just don’t you dare send such piffle our way. Yuck!
The Gene Project – TasteFace
Client and Job Title: Marmite – Unilever
Philippa Atkinson Brand Manager, Marmite
Andre Burger, VP Foods UK & Ireland, Unilever
Digital Agency: AnalogFolk
Creative Partner: Simon Richings
Creative Director: Sara Pouri
Creatives: Jack Finn, Jake Haynes
Designers: Dan Saxton, Marcus Thouant
Strategist: Jack Trew
Account Director: Lucie Sarif
Production Director: James Marshall
Tech Lead: Francisco Jordao
Director of Technical Services: Miguel Alvarez
Data Strategist: Kevin Gale
Analytics Director: Matthew Robinson
UX: Kim Abbott
Steven Gradidge, Mike Harris, Rachael Bennett, Sam White