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CASE STUDY

Marmie /
This article appeared in Contagous issue Twenty Two.
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case study / marmite /
DIVIDE AND CONQUER
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CASE STUDY / MARMITE / DIVIDE AND
CONQUER / MARMITE HAS BEEN ‘THE
GROWING UP SPREAD YOU NEVER
GROW OUT OF’ AND ‘MY MATE - MARMITE’,
BUT IT’S AS A ‘LOVE/HATE’ BRAND THAT
THIS PECULIARLY BRITISH PRODUCT
HAS FOUND TRUE FAME. LOVE FOR THE
108 YEAR-OLD BRAND, NOW OWNED BY
UNILEVER, HAS SPAWNED COUNTLESS
FAN SITES, FACEBOOK PAGES, SECRET
SOCIETIES AND POP-UP SHOPS…
AND THERE ARE EVEN PLACES WHERE
HATERS CAN VENT THEIR FEELINGS TOO.
LUCY AITKEN (MARMITE-LOVER SINCE
CHILDHOOD) ASKS HOW A SMALL JAR
OF YEAST EXTRACT GETS PEOPLE SO
WORKED UP /
contagious 68 / 69
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J
ust before Christmas 2009, Jon Morter shot into the
limelight. Morter, a part-time DJ from Essex, launched a
Facebook campaign to mobilise support for the 1992
Rage Against the Machine track Killing In The Name
to take the Christmas number one spot in the UK
singles charts. Why? He was bored with seeing each
year’s X-Factor winner being a shoo-in for the coveted
chart position. The Facebook group acquired nearly
one million fans; the expletive-ridden Killing In The
Name sold 502,000 downloads, successfully trumping
X-Factor winner Joe McElderry’s The Climb. In the
spirit of Christmas, Morter asked people to donate to
Shelter when they downloaded the track and raised over
£100,000 for the charity which helps the homeless.
This not only showed the power of social networks and
hailed as a victory by music fans fatigued by X-Factor
founder Simon Cowell’s pop monopoly and ratings-
hungry TV stations, it also offered an opportunity for
a bit of a battle, in this case a genuine David versus
Goliath. Which begs the question: who doesn’t relish
the chance to roll up their sleeves to defend what they
love and complain about what they hate?
The X-Factor / Rage division sparked debate in pubs,
offices, playgrounds and online about which was
preferable in the Christmas number one spot: saccharine
talent-show pop or an angry protest song? By the same
token, for every Chelsea FC or Real Madrid fan, there’s
an ardent hater who feels just as passionately. And
certain brands exploit how their loyalists feel about the
competition. How much do Virgin Atlantic converts enjoy
bleating about British Airways? And ask a room full of
Mac evangelists about why they love their MacBook,
and PC-hatred flares up in a nanosecond.
It’s our love of taking sides that has helped Marmite’s
long-running love/hate strategy succeed across many
different platforms. For those unacquainted with Marmite,
it’s a smooth, rich dark-brown paste with a consistency
slightly thicker than honey that’s most commonly spread
on toast. Laden with B-vitamins, it’s made from the yeast
which is used to ferment sugars into alcohol during the
brewing process.
Marmite’s closest competitor is Kraft-owned Vegemite,
another yeast extract, famous for being an Australian
staple. Marmite is most prevalent in the UK where over
half of the world’s yeast extract is consumed.
Marmite has been around since 1902 and, along with
13 other food brands including Pot Noodle, Knorr and
Hellmann’s, joined the Unilever portfolio in 2000 when
the FMCG giant acquired Bestfoods for £13.4 billion.
The love/hate strategy was introduced in 1996, when a
Marmite brief fell into the hands of creative team Richard
Flintham and Andy McLeod at DDB London (then BMP
DDB). One of them loved it; the other hated it. The rest
is history.
‘Like Marmite’
UK readers will know just how much Marmite has
entered the vernacular since then. A quick Google
search on the words ‘I’m like Marmite’ shows that the
late reality-TV star Jade Goody, British Olympic boxing
champion James DeGale and former newspaper editor
Piers Morgan have all compared themselves to Marmite,
using it as short-hand for their polarising personalities.
One celebrity news site, Anorak, even launched a
‘Marmite Watch’ to round up just how many times the
phrase ‘like Marmite’ got used to describe everything
from PayPal to the Ford Ka.
The managing director of Chrysalis UK, the division
of Unilever UK & Ireland which manages Pot Noodle,
Marmite, Bovril and Peperami, Matt Burgess (lover) says:
‘Marmite gets about 10 mentions every day in the press,
about half of those are in the national press.’ He adds:
‘Marmite is a jewel in Unilever’s crown. It’s an amazing
product and we share learning from it across Unilever.
It’s effectively a single-market brand so we can push the
boundaries of what’s happening in the media space.’
The TV ad that first captured the essence of the
love/hate strategy was ‘Apartment’ in 1999 where
a passionate kiss ends abruptly with one smoocher
disgusted by the taste of Marmite in his partner’s mouth.
The executive creative director at DDB London, Jeremy
Craigen (hater) reflects: ‘The strategy went a bit over the
top in early executions and had people doing things like
bathing in Marmite. To go out there and tell the world
that some people hate our product felt quite daring.
‘Apartment’ was the third commercial, and that was the
first really good piece of work.’
But the love/hate strategy has really been brought to
life through digital media. In the last ten years, Marmite
has made the most of new platforms to connect more
deeply with consumers, bringing it to life in ways that
were previously unimaginable. Back in the late 1970s,
when Marmite ads meant apple-cheeked kids making
mountains of Marmite on toast for mum on Mother’s
Day, short of pinching a DeLorean with a flux capacitor,
it would have been impossible to imagine the range of
ways that this brand connects with its fan base today.
Facebook love
The hub of all Marmite’s digital activity is a Facebook
group which boasts 256,724 fans. Some 200,000 of
those fans were already on Facebook as self-declared
Marmite lovers long before the official page was
launched in 2008.
And these are fans in the purest sense; fanatics. A
contest to win a Marmite-themed tea at the Dorchester
hotel in London attracted 1,459 posts, while there were
162 entries on a Facebook thread called ‘glass jar vs
squeezy jar’ (more on that contentious issue later).
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APARTMENT /
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As the Marmite Facebook community is so active, the
social networking site is central to all communications.
When Marmite supported its move into the £300m UK
cereal bar market with a £1.5m marketing investment
in February 2010, it was the first FMCG advertiser to
use Facebook ad units which gave visitors the chance
to sample the new product and offer their feedback. This
supported videos, played on outdoor digital screens and
online, showing reactions of people trying the cereal
bar and either loving or hating it. Additional activity
on Facebook, through AKQA London and Splendid
Communications, asked the question ‘have we gone
too far?’ And, in a deliciously Marmitey circle, this
complemented print and outdoor advertising through
DDB London which showed brand extensions such as
Marmite shower gel. The copy read: ‘This may be too far,
but how about this? ‘and then pictured the bar.
Niki Hunter (a late convert, now a lover), associated
director at Splendid, Marmite’s PR agency, says: ‘The fan
page grew so quickly that Facebook actually called us
to ask how it was growing so fast.’ What does the page
do to keep people so engaged? Hunter reveals: ‘We
give people stuff to pass on to their friends, constantly
ask them questions and don’t use social media as just
another channel to shove out ad messages. Social
media works best when you ask people to get involved
with your brand and share their thoughts and comments.’
Social media can also enable brands to reward
their most vociferous fans and this was the thinking
behind the launch of the Marmarati in November 2009.
Launched through London-based social media agency
We Are Social and Splendid Communications, this
‘secret society’ was formed to celebrate the launch of an
extra-strong version of Marmite, code-named XO (extra-
old) and scheduled for launch in March 2010.
First and foremost, the Marmarati enlisted the help of
around 30 bloggers with whom the brand already had
a relationship to help spread news of the society. Next
up, those who sought to join had to prove their love by
taking quizzes which they could share on Facebook
and Twitter. They also had to upload a video, photo or a
written submission for the chance to preview XO, with
site visitors voting for the winner.
Once enlisted, members could win a handmade
jar, packaged in the Victorian style that the campaign
adopted as a nod to Marmite’s heritage. The Marmarati
also got to meet each other at a tasting event shrouded
in mystery. However, even those who didn’t get to
be part of this elite but who were still involved with
the campaign were rewarded on some scale, with
promotions and Marmitey merchandise.
Managing partner at We Are Social, Nathan McDonald
(definitely a lover) comments: ‘There were nearly 1,000
entries and the next stage is sending out 200 jars of
Marmite XO to get a reaction. Marmite has many fans
and this particular product is for the most passionate.
We peppered the main Facebook page with campaign
updates and it attracted conversation via Twitter. It was
a good balance between Facebook, Twitter, organic
traffic and blogs.’
Marmite brand manager at Unilever, Tom Denyard
(hater) says: ‘The Marmarati was about bringing these
people into an inner circle, talking to them about new
product development and involving them in the process.
They have then given us feedback and we have tweaked
the product accordingly. They’ve also shared messages
with the broader community.’ As well as being visible on
blogs and social networks, the Marmarati attracted a
huge amount of enthusiasm from fans trying be enlisted
into the secret society. Denyard reveals that there were
700 people clamouring at the doors, and the website
attracted 21,000 visits in four weeks. Across social
media, it’s estimated that the campaign touched around
650,000 people simply by engaging 30 key influencers.’
Denyard reflects: ‘With the Facebook fan page going
from strength to strength and with the Marmarati
experience to draw on, the world of social media plays
well for the brand. Consumers want to talk about it and
Marmite wants to be involved in those conversations,
giving consumers access and insight, and taking their
views on board.’
Influential love
Marmarati was given a huge boost through the
involvement of bloggers. Brand managers now try to
engage bloggers more because they know they can
influence attitudes and even purchase. But for many,
identifying the right bloggers and establishing an
appropriate tone and level of contact is challenging.
Marmite values its relationships with bloggers so highly
that on Valentine’s Day in 2009 it sent them bespoke
love poems in a gift box containing limited edition
Champagne-flavoured Marmite. Bloggers reproduced
their personalised poems and their reactions; typical
comments included Makiko Itoh’s post on her food
blog JustHungry.com: ‘I feel even more warm towards
Marmite now, if that’s possible.’
Denyard reflects: ‘It’s not rocket science to understand
the needs of people you’re talking to and recognise
what they’re looking for. Bloggers want to talk about
good stuff. If you’re able to provide quality content for
them in a format that works, they will pick it up and run
with it. If you do it consistently over a period of time,
you have a functional working relationship that works for
both parties.’
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contagious 72 / 73
‘We gve people suf to pass on to their
friends, consantly ask them quesions
and don’t use social media as jus another
channel to shove out ad messages’
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Pop-up love
Bloggers also helped to get the word out about the
Marmite pop-up shop that lived on London’s Regent
Street for nine weeks at the end of 2009. Around
80,000 people visited the shop which offered Marmite
merchandise from T-shirts to tableware, a café selling
tea and Marmite on toast for £1 and art installations
playing on the idea of love and hate.
The co-founder of London-based brand venturing
agency Hot Pickle and former Marmite marketing
manager, Rupert Pick (lover), who was responsible
for creating the pop-up store, comments: ‘People said
things like “this is a religious experience” and travelled
to see it. Reaction from haters was equally extreme,
with some asking, “Why the hell have I been brought
in here?”’ Around 2,000 people who ate in the café
wanted to see a permanent Marmite store, suggesting
scope for either a flagship standalone store or multiple
pop-up shops.
Marmite marketing executive, David Titman (‘I’d rather
stick pins in my eyes than eat Marmite’) reflects: ‘The
Marmite shop was an excuse to create a home for all
our products and offered a chance to show how far we
could stretch the brand.’
Love the limelight
On the subject of brand-stretching, Marmite has
introduced a stack of new products over the last few
years, including rice cakes, breadsticks and breakfast
bars, offering lovers more opportunities to consume the
brand.
It has also produced a swathe of special editions,
including Marmite flavoured with Guinness to nudge
young men to buy it, as well as a jar of Marston’s
Pedigree Marmite shaped like a cricket ball during The
Ashes series between England and Australia last year. In
true Marmite style, this was accompanied by a Marmite
vs Vegemite debate and a sponsored charity cricket
anthem warbled by ex-England cricketer Phil Tufnell.
Senior director, brand strategy at London brand
consultancy Landor Associates, James Withey (‘I quite
like it’) believes that strong brand-management has helped
Marmite stave off the threat from own-label rivals to which
other brands have fallen victim during the recession.
He says: ‘It has never lost its clear communication and
strong visual identity – it has an iconic bottle and label,
and Marmite feels like it’s a specific thing; people know
it’s yeast extract, but Marmite defines its own category.’
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Head of account management at Marmite’s ad agency
DDB London, Jon Busk (Marmite-lover since childhood)
says: ‘During this recession, we’ve seen people reaching
out for brands that give them reassurance. Emotional
attachment to the brand is so strong that people might
give up a lot of other brands before Marmite.’
Love squeezy
When Marmite launched its plastic Squeezy jar in 2006,
it needed to keep the lovers on side. As families tend to
be Marmite’s main target, it reached out to them with a
nostalgic TV spot starring Paddington Bear swapping
his famous marmalade sandwiches for Marmite ones.
To explore that association online, digital agency AKQA
in London created a virtual Paddington’s Kitchen where
visitors could swap ideas for Marmite sandwiches.
Over 1,225 recipes were submitted over five weeks.
Additionally, a helpline was set up for mums making
packed lunches offering sandwich suggestions.
Running alongside this activity was a distinctive
campaign online and in print, where users were
encouraged to squeeze Marmite onto toast and share
their efforts as part of an online gallery.
AKQA also worked with Marmite, podcast site Audible
and the UK government’s Reading For Life initiative by
offering free audiobooks for kids. Mums (and offspring)
could choose whether they wanted a Horrid Henry or
Perfect Peter story depending, of course, on whether
they were lovers or haters of the characters in Francesca
Simon’s books.
Despite initial resistance to Squeezy – and you need
only take a quick scroll down the Facebook thread on
‘glass jar vs Squeezy’ to get an idea of fans’ reaction to
Marmite being cased in plastic, it has been a business
success story. Commanding a 30% price premium,
Squeezy now contributes 11% of Marmite’s total sales.
Marmite contributes £50m to Unilever’s bottom line;
gross sales are around £75m.
How hate breeds love
Agencies and brand managers on Marmite are under
no illusions that converts are rare. Jon Busk observes:
‘There are some people out there who are never going
to buy Marmite and there’s no point in coming up with
some widget to try to entice them.’ Yet by emphasising
the divisive nature of the product, the lovers have
become more outspoken and brand-loyal. He adds:
‘We have deepened the relationship that lovers have
with the brand and attracted waverers.’ James Withey
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case study / marmite /
adds that the campaign makes people take a stance: ‘It
encourages people to think about the brand in terms of
love or hate and that’s the genius of the strategy: it helps
people get off the fence.’
That’s why on Facebook, the I Hate Marmite group
(4,053 members) – which includes colourful descriptions
of how its members detest the stuff (typical content
includes statements like ‘it’s the work of Lucifer’ or ‘I
would rather eat a tramp’s toenail’) is far from ignored by
Marmite’s agencies. Niki Hunter at Splendid says: ‘We
talk to people there as well because hatred versus love
always pushes the lovers to love it even more. We’d be
crazy not to embrace those people.’
It takes huge amounts of courage to admit, accept and
even make a virtue of the fact that there are an awful
lot of people out there who hate your product. Not
dislike or have no opinion on, but actively despise. And
when brands show that they understand how they’re
perceived, they instantly have a personality. Skoda
famously pulled this off via a campaign through Fallon
London a decade ago when it confronted head-on its
negative brand image in the UK, resulting in a 1,500
strong waiting-list for Skoda vehicles for the first time in
its brand history.
DDB London’s Jeremy Craigen sums it up: ‘Like all
great successful campaigns, Marmite’s is based on
truth. I read [wine magazine] Decanter, and someone
was referring to a wine being like Marmite and mocked
up a label. When a brand is talked about in [UK tabloid
newspaper] The Sun and also Decanter, you know
you’ve hit something.’
THE ASHES SONG /

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Marmite is a leading brand in the UK savoury spreads
sector. The brand, owned by Unilever and dating back
more than a century, achieves annual sales of around
£75 million, benefiting from a loyal customer base and
successful marketing campaigns.
The spreads market in which Marmite operates is fairly
fragmented. Indeed, while Marmite enjoys a market share
of 4.7% in the overall spreads market (which includes
sweet spreads), the brand leaders, Shippam’s and
Robertson’s, hold only an approximate 6% share each.
Private labels, meanwhile, account for a substantial
42.0% share of the market, highlighting the need for
brands to maintain a high level of product innovation to
encourage brand growth.
Looking at the savoury spreads sector itself, a key
problem is its relatively small growth rate. While the
sector is the largest in the spreads market, at £211.8
million in 2008, it is forecast to achieve a compound
annual growth rate of only 1.6% between 2009 and
2013. A key cause of this is perhaps the declining
consumption of toast as a breakfast food; more people
are eating breakfast on-the-go out of the home, or are
choosing breakfast cereals instead of toast.
Unilever has met this challenge by launching innovative
new Marmite products, including what it described as
the first savoury cereal bar, along with other Marmite-
flavoured savoury snacks such as cashew nuts and
crisps. Such products extend Marmite from a breakfast
item to a snack food and could therefore encourage
more consumers to purchase Marmite products, while
keeping the brand high profile.
Alongside this, Unilever maintained a high profile
image for Marmite by running frequent marketing
campaigns. Marmite’s advertising has been well
received by consumers, with its Love it or Hate it
campaign successfully reflecting the divided feelings
people generally have for the product in a humorous
manner.
While in Britain there are significant numbers of people
that like the brand, this is a different story abroad. Many
people outside the UK cannot understand its appeal,
and it has subsequently never sold well overseas.
However, with sales remaining strong in the UK alone,
Unilever need not worry about overseas expansion, and
should be content to see Marmite maintain a healthy
business in its home market.
www.datamonitor.com
ANALYST’S INSIGHT /
By Vicky McCrorie / Analyst / Datamonitor
contagious 76 / 77
CHALLENGE / MARMITE HAD BEEN AT THE BACK
OF THE CUPBOARD AND NEEDED TO MOVE
CENTRE-STAGE. ITS LOVE/HATE STRATEGY WAS
SERVING IT WELL - THE BRAND HAD ENJOYED
CONSISTENT VALUE GROWTH OF 3% - BUT
THIS CAME CHIEFLY FROM REMINDING LAPSED
USERS TO RE-PURCHASE OR USE IT AGAIN.
NEW REVENUE-GENERATORS NEEDED TO BE
A COMBINATION OF PRODUCT INNOVATION AS
WELL AS MARKETING EFFORTS THAT ENGAGED
BOTH LOVERS AND HATERS /
SOLUTION / MARMITE REINFORCED ITS LOVE/
HATE STRATEGY IN MORE CONVERSATIONAL
DIGITAL ENVIRONMENTS. MARMITE’S FACEBOOK
FAN PAGE HAS OVER 250,000 FANS, AND TOOLS
TO ENGAGE HARDCORE FANS, SUCH AS SECRET
SOCIETY MARMARATI, GENERATE POSITIVE PR.
IT HAS BUILT RELATIONSHIPS WITH BLOGGERS
WHICH AMPLIFY THE BRAND MESSAGE, AND IT
IS QUICK TO REACT TO EVENTS IN THE NEWS. ITS
POP-UP SHOP ON LONDON’S REGENT STREET
BROUGHT THE BRAND TO LIFE IN A RETAIL AND
CAFÉ-STYLE ENVIRONMENT, AND PACKAGING
INNOVATION SQUEEZY NOW CONTRIBUTES 11%
TO OVERALL SALES ON A 30% MARK-UP /
RESULTS / MARMITE CONTRIBUTES £50M
EVERY YEAR TO UNILEVER’S BOTTOM LINE. IT IS
A CATEGORY-DEFINING PRODUCT WITH SUCH
A CLEAR, DIVISIVE STRATEGY THAT ‘MARMITE’
HAS BECOME SHORTHAND FOR THINGS THAT
POLARISE, FROM POP STARS TO PAYPAL. THE
‘JEWEL IN UNILEVER’S CROWN’, MARMITE IS
EXPERIMENTAL AND PUSHES BOUNDARIES,
AND ITS EXPERIENCES HELP TO INFORM OTHER
UNILEVER BRANDS. GOING FORWARDS, IT
COULD CERTAINLY EXPLORE EXPORTING: ITS
EASILY-TRANSLATABLE STRATEGY COULD HELP IT
ATTRACT NEW FANS OVERSEAS, AS WELL NEW
FOES... BUT THAT’S ALL PART OF THE FUN /
Marmite_REVISED.indd 11 04/03/2010 18:37
brand map / marmite /
01
MT
MT
MARMITE / BRAND MAP /
02
PR
01
YEAST
01
1902
01
£50M
01 / YEARS & YEAST
Marmite was born in 1902 and, along
with 13 other food brands including Pot
Noodle, Knorr and Hellmann’s, became a
Unilever brand in 2000 when the FMCG
giant acquired Bestfoods for £13.4bn.
Marmite’s closest competitor is Kraft-
owned Vegemite, famous for being an
Australian brand. Marmite is most
prevalent in the UK where more than
half of the world’s yeast extract is
consumed. Laden with B-vitamins, it’s
made from the yeast used to ferment
sugars into alcohol during the brewing
process.
Marmite contributes £50m to Unilever’s
annual bottom line. This may seem small
compared to other Unilever brands like
Flora margarine (£200m) but Marmite
is a category-defining product. This
gives it a status and a confidence rarely
enjoyed in the FMCG sector.
Its strong taste inspired the brand’s
long-running love/hate marketing
strategy. An infamous 1999 TVC showed
a passionate kiss ending abruptly with
the guy gagging on the taste of Marmite
inside his partner’s mouth.
02 / VERNACULAR & VISIBILITY
Converts to Marmite are rare. People
either immediately love it or hate it.
Since 1996, DDB’s marketing strategy
has ingeniously exploited the product’s
divisive nature, turning lovers into
outspoken brand-loyalists. The campaign
makes people get off the fence and take
a stance.
The ‘love it or hate it’ tag line has
entered the UK vernacular. The phrase
‘like Marmite’ has become pop-culture
shorthand to describe everything from
PayPal to the Ford Ka. Controversial
celebrities are quick to compare
themselves to the polarising brand.
Marmite generates an average 10
mentions every day in the British press,
half of which are inside the national
titles.
The brand is a jewel in Unilever’s crown.
Learnings from its marketing and
retail activities are shared across the
company.
03 / GIVING & GROUPS
Being a single-market brand means the
advertiser can push media boundaries.
Last year 80,000 people visited a
Marmite pop-up shop on London’s
Regent Street over a nine week period.
The space offered Marmite merchandise
from T-shirts to tableware, a café selling
tea and Marmite on toast for £1 and art
installations playing on the idea of love
and hate.
Running alongside this activity has been
the distinctive ‘Marmart’ campaign
which encouraged users to squeeze
Marmite onto toast and share their
efforts in an online gallery.
The love/hate strategy is deployed to
great effect across digital media. The
hub is a Facebook group which boasts
257,000 fanatics. A contest to win a
Marmite-themed tea at the Dorchester
Hotel attracted 1,459 posts. To keep
engagement levels high the brand
‘gives people stuff they can pass onto
their friends, constantly asks them
questions and doesn’t use social media
as just another channel to shove out ad
messages.’
02
‘LIKE
MARMITE’
03
ONLINE
GALLERY
03
POP-UP
SHOP
03
CAFÉ
01
UNILEVER
02
POP
CULTURE
02
JEWEL
03
256,000
FANS
01
LOVE /
HATE
03
TOAST
02
LOYAL
03
STUFF
Marmite_REVISED.indd 12 04/03/2010 18:37
04 / MARMARATI & MERCHANDISE
UK social media agency We Are Social
and Splendid Communications launched
‘Marmarati’ (a ‘secret society’) in
November 2009 to seed the March 2010
launch of an extra-strong version of
Marmite, code-named XO [extra-old].
First, the Marmarati enlisted 30 key
bloggers to spread news of the society.
Next, those seeking to join had to prove
their love by taking quizzes shared on
Facebook and Twitter. Applicants had
to upload a video, photo or written
submission for the chance to preview XO
with site visitors voting for the winner.
Members could win a handmade jar,
packaged in the Victorian style the
campaign had adopted as a nod to
Marmite’s heritage. The Marmarati also
got to meet each other at a secret
tasting event, with those outside of the
‘inner circle’ rewarded with Marmitey
merchandise. The Marmarati involved
consumers directly in new product
development, providing Unilever with
valuable feedback . By engaging 30 ‘key
influencers’, the social media campaign
touched 650,000 people.
05 / CHAMPAGNE & CONSISTENCY
The impact of bloggers on the success
of the Marmarati campaign shows the
importance that Marmite brand managers
attach to social media. Much energy
goes into engaging with this community
because of its influence on consumer
attitudes and purchase intent. Identifying
the right bloggers and establishing an
appropriate tone and level of contact is a
challenge that Marmite’s marketers seem
to enjoy.
On Valentine’s Day, loyal bloggers were
sent bespoke love poems in a gift box
containing limited edition Champagne-
flavoured Marmite. Typical comments
included Makiko Itoh’s post on her food
blog JustHungry.com ‘I feel even more
warm towards Marmite now, if that’s
possible.’
Marmite brand manager Tom Denyard
says: ‘Bloggers want to talk about good
stuff. If you’re able to provide quality
content for them in a format that works,
they will pick it up and run with it. If you
do it consistently over a period of time,
you have a functional working relationship
that works for both parties.’


06 / ALLIANCES & ATTACHMENT
Brand-stretch has taken Marmite into
extensions like rice cakes, breadsticks
and breakfast bars.
Marmite also has an eye for clever brand
alliances, producing numerous special
editions including Guinness flavour
(to attract young men) and a jar of
Marston’s Pedigree Marmite shaped like
a cricket ball during The Ashes cricket
series of 2009.
Commanding a 30% price premium,
Marmite’s alternative plastic ‘Squeezy’
jar now contributes 11% of total sales.
Diversification has helped Marmite stave
off the threat from own-label rivals to
which other brands have fallen victim
during the recession. The brand has
never lost its clear communication.
With its iconic bottle and label, Marmite
possesses a unique, established feel
and therefore defines its own category.
In recessionary times, people tend to
reach out for brands that give them
reassurance. This is where the strong
emotional attachment that the brand’s
marketing has built amongst consumers
starts to pay real dividends.

04
TASTING
EVENT
05
ENGA-
GE
05
LONG
TERM
05
VALEN-
TINE’S DAY
06
ALLIANCES
04
650,000
05
CHAMPAGNE
06
ICONIC
BOTTLE
04
BLOGS
04
FEED-
BACK
04
SECRET
SOCIETY
06
SQUEE-
ZY
contagious 78 / 79
04
INNER
CIRCLE
05
LOVE
POEMS
06
BRAND
STRETCH
06
EMO-
TION
06
REASSUR-
ANCE
Marmite_REVISED.indd 13 04/03/2010 18:37