The Marmite Mind Control Adverts
Do you love it, or hate it? Nectar of the gods, or sticky salty hell-spread? The iconic Marmite jar has been dividing families for over 100 years. In 2019, their marketing manager said, “Recent research cemented Marmite’s reputation as the most loved and hated product of our generation” and they reckoned they had finally cracked how to convert even the most ardent haters’ taste perceptions.
The Unilever brand planned to transform “lucky participants” from Marmite haters into Marmite lovers using the power of hypnosis films. members of the public applied by answering a series of questions online, before travelling to London to watch the film under controlled conditions.
In the resulting filmed experiment, Marmite show that hypnosis can make a hater become a lover — succeeding in seven out of ten cases. Very impressive, but we wish this video had made us laugh — perhaps through a presenter working off a funny script, or even a gag-packed voiceover. Instead, the brand is relying purely on our curiosity to inspire us to watch this for the full three minutes.
To be honest, we’re never going to care enough, unless we’re not being entertained at the same time. Most social media users will feel the same — and you can see that this video has received a paltry amount of attention on YouTube. It’s a real shame that such a funny and clever campaign wasn’t brought to a fitting conclusion with a hilarious video to show off the results.
However, we remain impressed by the campaign overall. It was a visionary approach — one that falls somewhere between genuine social experiment and funny, attention-seeking marketing strategy. And best of all, Marmite didn’t stop there — giving us a little nugget of branded comedy gold at the start of 2020…
Marmite and AA Hypnosis Advert
With this ad released in 2020, Marmite took the funny idea at the core of this campaign even further — by hijacking another brand’s ad.
The ad starts off innocuously enough — appearing to be an AA breakdown service ad — before glitching to reveal a ‘subliminal message’ from Marmite. The first, at eight seconds in, orders us to ‘Love it!’ before the AA advert resumes, only to be interrupted three more times.[embedyt] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=A3pMK8iF0OQ[/embedyt]
It’s definitely weird. But does it work?
At the heart of anything funny is the element of surprise. When two seemingly unrelated ideas come together in a way that somehow, against all odds, suddenly makes perfect sense — congratulations, you’ve got yourself some comedy (more on that HERE)!
Marmite have taken that basic comedy principle by the horns, serving us a boss of a surprise in what may just be a marketing masterstroke. Placing your advert within an advert for a brand in a completely different sector? That’s some Inception shit right there. The surprise impact of the ridiculous ‘hypnosis’ inserts is heightened by sandwiching them between details of a relatively mundane service — no offence, AA! — and the visual style has a satisfying, Black Mirror feel.
We guess we’re saying this ad is basically prestige television and should win an Emmy.
Is it hilarious? No. But it’s a delightfully silly idea, and it make us want to drive to the supermarket in our AA-covered car and pick up some salty yeasty spread. So we’d call that a win.
We reckon this specific ad is the highlight of the Marmite Mind Control campaign, but these others are worth a watch too: