A Marmite TV ad that drew more than 500 complaints was designed to be “as provocative as our brand”, owner Unilever has admitted.
It made the statement after advertising watchdog the ASA said it would not be investigating the spoof on animal rescue documentaries, which was accused by complainants of being in poor taste, of trivialising the work of animal and child protection agencies and of being unsuitable for children.
The ASA said most viewers would recognise the ads were a spoof. “They were unlikely to cause serious or widespread offence or to be irresponsible and were unlikely to cause undue fear or distress to young viewers,” it added.
Unilever, which donated £18,000 to the RSPCA during the furore over the ad, said it was “delighted” with the ASA’s decision. “The tongue-in-cheek campaign has been designed to be as provocative as our brand,” said a spokesman. “We’re not fans of indifference and are pleased that the ad encouraged debate and that love overwhelmingly won out.”