Marmite’s latest TV ad has prompted 250 complaints to the Advertising Standards Authority in its first 24 hours on air.
The advertising watchdog has been bombarded with claims that the new ad – a spoof of animal rescue documentaries – is in poor taste and is offensive. Some viewers have also complained that the ad trivialises the work of animal and child protection agencies.
“We hope everyone will watch and enjoy this commercial in the light-hearted way it was intended”
The ad, which broke during Coronation Street on Monday, shows the Marmite Rescue Team recovering and rehoming neglected jars of the spread. It is shot in a mock-documentary style and features a voiceover by newsreader Michael Buerk.
The ad has prompted outrage on social media – although there have also been many comments in support of the campaign – and by Tuesday evening the ASA had received about 250 complaints.
The authority said it would be reviewing these before deciding whether they would be formally investigated, adding that it was not likely to make a decision until next week.
Meanwhile, Marmite brand owner Unilever has said it did not intend to cause offence. “This is the first time Marmite has been on television for two years and we have made every effort to ensure that this commercial entertains anyone who watches it,” said a spokesman.
“It ranked highly throughout our rigorous testing process and with clear branding from the outset, as well as the comedic tone, 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 everyone will watch and enjoy this commercial in the light-hearted way it was intended.”