Marmite TV advert draws widespread complaints

Marmite jar
A "high volume" of complaints was received after the advert aired on Monday

A TV advert in which a spoof rescue team saves "stricken" jars of Marmite from homes where they have been neglected has prompted 278 complaints.

Some 250 complaints were received by the Advertising Standards Authority in just 24 hours, following the advert's debut on Monday evening.

Those who objected found the advert "offensive" and "in poor taste", said a spokesman for the ASA.

Viewers complained "it trivialises the work of animal welfare charities".

The spokesman confirmed that complaints were being monitored, but stressed that no further action was being taken by the watchdog at present.

Despite receiving a "high volume of complaints in a short space of time", it said, the number of complaints has subsequently dropped off.

The ASA said action would be taken if there was found to be problem with the advert under the advertising code.

A spokeswoman for Marmite, who are owned by Unilever, said it was "never [their] intention to cause offence".

"We have made every effort to ensure that this commercial entertains anyone who watches it," she continued.

'Light-hearted'

"We believe we have created an unmistakably Marmite ad - people will either love it or hate it and they certainly won't forget it.

"We hope that everyone will watch and enjoy this commercial in the light-hearted way it was intended."

The advert, which features the voice of BBC journalist Michael Buerk, parodies a team of welfare officers as they uncover neglected Marmite jars "stuck right at the back" of kitchen cupboards.

"Who knows how long that's been here?" says one actor as he carries off the Marmite to "clean him up".

"It's a baby one," bleats another actor. "[It's] not been used in a month... lid's stuck."

The 90-second advert concludes with a family enjoying their re-homed Marmite and the slogan: "Love it. Hate it. Just don't forget it."

Marmite trailed the advert's debut, during Monday's Coronation Street on ITV, on its Facebook page. Viewers posted mixed responses following its broadcast.

"This ad shows no regard for all those involved with animal welfair [sic] and I personaly [sic] will no longer eat Marmite till this ad is pulled," wrote one.

"How can u compare animal cruelty with marmite neglect...?" wrote another. "Come on people, have a sense of humour."

"It's a brilliant advert," added Dave Norris. "Very funny and highlights animal charity work."

The RSPCA (Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals) said it understood that "animal lovers are concerned on our behalf".

"We plan to talk to the makers of Marmite about how we can work together on animal welfare."