Marmite fans LOVE!!! the gludgy brown yeast spread that was born in 1902. A 2013 poll by M&C Saatchi Group ranked it the fifth most desirable British brand and it’s one of the most confiscated items in British airports.
Marmite haters hate it. In 1996, two creatives at BMP DDB (now DDB London) realised that this polarity – this truth – was useful, and the tagline, You Either Love It Or Hate It, was born.
The line has been useful to Marmite for two decades. In 2012, adam&eve/DDB made it “royal”, for the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee.
Now Marmite has given the truth its greatest marketing power to date. During the last year, Marmite has been working with genetic testing centre, DNAFit, to explore why there are Marmite lovers and haters.
Yes, the answer is in your genes. Nature has given Marmite the biggest ad idea in its history.
More than 260 participants took part in the study. They were asked first to put a 2g serving of Marmite on their tongue for 10 seconds. Then they filled out a questionnaire to identify their love or hate Marmite taste preference and their reactions to it.
Saliva cheek swabs were then taken from each participant to obtain DNA samples and these were sent for genetic analysis to identify SNPs (single-nucleotide polymorphisms, aka snips) associated with Marmite taste preference. SNPs are single DNA building blocks that have an impact on specific traits.
After 8,760 hours of analysing and interpreting the results, The Marmite Gene Project identified 15 genetic markers that are linked to Marmite taste preference. Of course, “Marmite taste preference is a complex human trait with many factors influencing whether an individual loves or hates Marmite,” the study’s white paper noted: MarmiteGenetics_WhitePaper
But marketing doesn’t have to worry about that.
Unilever has created a gene testing kit that you can buy to find out if you’re predisposed to loving or hating the stuff.
The Marmite Gene Project will send you your results in five days. And while, at £89.99 (AU$146), it may be cost prohibitive for most, it makes for great advertising – with the news media doing most of the work. There’s also a special gene project themed jar to promote the result. It costs just £4.99 (AU$8) to buy.