Ma'amite. A love or hate tribute to Her Majesty


Marmite, that Great British institution which we either love or hate (or love to hate, in some cases)  has been given a temporary makeover by makers Unilever. And if I ever meet the person who rebranded it Ma'amite in honour of the Queen's Diamond Jubilee this year, then I will go all Wayne's World on him and start shouting, "We're not worthy! We're not worthy!" while doing the arm-wavy thing at their feet. For that, ladies and gentlemen of the creative world, is a stroke of genius.

Oh, I've just found out that it was design firm Hornall Anderson. So...nice job, Hornall Anderson. (We're not worthy, etc etc). Even if you are based in Seattle rather than London...

This year marks Marmite's 110th anniversary, as it happens (bit of a shame it's not 100 years and 50 years respectively, rather than 110 and 60) and one of the nation's most famous brands has produced 300,000 jars of its fourth limited edition version of the classic spread. The traditional yellow label has been replaced by a Union Jack background, and the top is a nice royal red.

To go with the genius name re-brand of Ma'amite, there's also a fantastic strap line too. It's so good that you'll think it's devastatingly obvious as well as clever, which is often the way with fantastic strap lines So the Jubilee edition of Ma'amite was born for the purpose of: toasting the Queen's Diamond Jubilee, emblazoned just below a version of Her Maj's crown. Toasting. Wow, how perfect is that? Oh, and get a load of these "toast soldiers"...

The taste hasn't changed in this latest incantation, though, unlike the other limited editions which were flavoured with Guinness, Champagne, Marston™s Pedigree and XO varieties. I have no idea what the last one is, but I must admit the others don't much appeal to me. Champagne Marmite? Blurgh!

"Blurgh" indeed. Marmite does, of course, have a history of playing on the sheer divisiveness of its taste. There can be few more rule-breaking strap lines than 'love it or hate it'  'telling consumers that there's every chance that they'll loathe the product' but Marmite went with it. And what a great decision that was. In fact, if you visit Marmite's website, you have to choose on the homepage whether you love it or hate it to determine where the website takes you. Among the options after you click on "I'm a hater", you then have the option to click through to Marmite's self-penned Facebook hate page, Marmite Hate Party.

Back in February, Marmite's Facebook administrator posted the Have I Got News For You style caption: "I'd rather _________ than eat Marmite." Over two months later there are over 430 comments and still counting. "I'd rather watch a 24-hour Loose Women marathon than eat Marmite" and "I'd rather let Edward Scissorhands play with my privates than eat Marmite" were two of my favourites clean enough to post in this blog.

If Marmite were a television personality, it would be Simon Cowell. Some people love him, some people hate him. Others love to hate him, and others hate to love him. So it is with Marmite. Both are now national institutions, both have made their name across the oceans, and both have amazing PR teams working for them.

So in this, the Queen's Diamond Jubilee year, I did doff my own hat and popped a jar of special edition Ma'amite into my shopping basket while I was at Sainsbury's this evening. That's 299,999 left for the rest of you. Well, apart from those which are already on eBay, of course, trying to get £25 out of some gullible punter who can't make it to a supermarket. I might well keep mine for posterity, actually. And when the copywriting dries up in 20 years time, I might flog it for 10 grand. Or eat it all in one go.

And now, just because I love the marmalade sandwich-devotee Paddington Bear, here is his clever Marmite ad from 2007:


by Ashley Morrison

Ashley is a blogger, copywriter and editor.

Follow me on Twitter @Ashley_Morrison



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