Brands for life - Marmite
Cats or dogs? City or Country? Britney or Christina? There are few things that divide the population quite so decisively as Marmite.
When I was young I was a faddy eater- I only ate carbs, and preferably only those beginning with P; pasta, pizza, potatoes. Nevertheless, even I, always loved Marmite.
When I returned from school, having eaten nothing all day, Marmite on toast was my saviour. It was what I wanted on crumpets in the morning- and on crumpets at night for that matter.
One memorable day I thought I’d struck lucky when I saw a Marmite covered knife lying unattended on the work surface. I grabbed it and hungrily licked off the residue, only to discover it was dog-food. Even this did not put me off the black stuff.
However, having one besotted fan, does not a Brand for Life make. I may love Marmite for its taste but I challenge anyone with an interest in communications not to admire the brand's marketing strategy.
Although around since 1902, it wasn’t until the 1980s, that the Marmite marketing machine really kicked into action. Initial efforts focused on the spread’s health benefits. Adverts featured a platoon of army officers, chanting “My mate Marmite” in reference to its use as a vitamin supplement during the Second World War.
This was catchy but nothing compared to what came next. Marmite packaging may be retro as it comes, but in my opinion the brand as we know it was made in the nineties. This was the decade that Marmite’s marketers realised the potential of controversy and the “Love it or hate it” campaign was born.
You see Marmite understood that fuelling polarisation amongst in its consumers was the most effective way to generate discussion, and therefore keep the brand at the forefront of the British public’s minds. The website was redesigned to reflect this and to this day contains two URLs, one for those that love Marmite and one for those that hate it.
Having become accustomed to the sweet-or should I say salty- taste of innovation, Marmite’s marketing efforts have continued to divide opinion. A lover I may be but I am also a literary purist, and the sight of Paddington Bear offering around the cheese and Marmite sandwiches in 2007 was enough to make even my marmite-infused blood boil. *
So there you have it. Marmite is my brand for life- not only because it inspires life long devotes such as myself, but because even those that detest the stuff, will live and die by their opposition to it.
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