Marmite hit the UK screens in December 2004 with its 40 second TV ad, a spoof of the 1958 movie, The Blob, starring Steve McQueen. By March DDB London had to restrict the ad’s viewing hours after six complaints of fear from children to the Advertising Standards Authority.
It all starts in Mr Joe’s Supermarket. A woman shopper screams, sparking off a panic evacuation of the store. Following the customers comes a brown blob. The blob continues to roll down the street filling the town with fear. It’s at this point that one of our original shoppers overcomes her fear, runs up to the blob and jumps in. Now we see a crowd of ‘Marmite lovers’ rushing in to get their taste. Marmite – you either love it or hate it! A follow up 20 second ad shows a few shots from the first, with the addition of man in the blob enjoying his cheese sandwich.
Click on the image below to play the video in YouTube (HD)
The Blob spot was developed at DDB London by creatives Shishir Patel and Sam Oliver, planner Ric Nicholls, with agency producer Lucinda Ker.
Music was composed by Adrian Sutton at Blaze Music, London.
Post production was done at Framestore.
The man in the window with his thumb up (Mister Joe) is an edited version of the Four Square man of New Zealand. The ad was filmed on the main street of Thames, in the North Island, New Zealand. The blob was added in with computer generation. The New Zealand version of Marmite, also used in Australia, is made by Sanitarium in Auckland and has sugar in the ingredients.
Marmite Yeast Extract is promoted in a UK focused web site, marmite.com, complete with choices for joining the fan club or hate club. The ads are shown there in FLV format and can only be seen if you say you live in the UK.
Marmite Blob won a Bronze Film Lion at Cannes International Advertising Festival 2005.