The British are up in arms over a delightful new Marmite spoof where rescue teams visit homes and take away the neglected yeast paste hidden away in kitchen cupboards. The rescuers remove “stricken” Marmite jars, tenderly carrying them away in animal carriers, and bring them to a rehousing center for adoption by more appreciative owners.
The English love their animals—what other country has active "Toad Patrols" to help frogs safely cross roads to avoid cars? But really, get a grip. In response to more than 400 complaints from viewers who say the ad trivializes animal welfare workers, Marmite parent Unilever has donated $28,000 to the RSPCA. When Adweek asked the brand’s ad agency adam&eveDDB for creative credits on this spot, or input about strategic execution, a rep initially declined to elaborate. That’s a shame. The agency deserves recognition for an entertaining commercial with great details in dialogue, casting and acting, including a recognizable voiceover by well-regarded BBC journalist Michael Buerk. In one funny scene, an offending housewife wimpers “I can change” while a small Marmite jar is gingerly escorted out of her home. Her children—and Labrador—have their faces pixelated to protect their identities.
This commercial is a clever way to grab attention for a product that, let’s face it, is not at the top of anyone’s shopping list. One in ten Brits say they haven’t opened their Marmite jars in three months and even adam&eveDDB admit, on the agency’s website, “Converts to Marmite are rare.” But that becomes part of the sales pitch here, with the tag: “Love It. Hate It. Just Don’t Forget It.” The commercial’s closing shot visually reinforces the idea when the youngest member of an adopting Marmite family turns his nose up after tasting a bite of the spread on a toasted crumpet. That alone makes me like the stuff better—it's a rare moment of truth in advertising.
Update: Creative credits, via adamandeveDDB, have been added below.
Creative Directors: Mike Crowe & Rob Messeter / Matt Lee & Pete Heyes
Creatives: Nick Sheppard & Tom Webber
Agency Producer: Chris Styring
Business Director: Kate Hewitt
Production Company: Outsider
Director: James Rouse
Producer: Benji Howell
Editor: Art Jones / Neil Smith @ Work Post
Post Production Company: Framestore
Colourist: Simon Bourne
VFX: Paul O’Brien
Sound Engineer: Mark Hellaby @ Clearcut