Marmite Promo, Case study THE MARMARATI

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Media Promo & PR, Case study
Released July 2012

Credits & Description

Category: Best Use of Social Media
Advertiser: UNILEVER
Product/Service: SAVOURY SPREAD
Managing Partner: Nathan McDonald (We Are Social)
Account Director: Seb Robert (We Are Social)
Account Director: Leila Thabet (We Are Social)
Account Manager: Sarah Oliver (We Are Social)
Account Manager: Louise Bury (We Are Social)
Account Executive: Tom Harvey (We Are Social)
Media placement: Social media - Online - 12 November 2009

Summary of the Campaign

Our challenge was to launch a new product variant entirely using social media. Marmite XO, is an ‘extra-strong’ Marmite, sold at a higher price point and targeted towards existing Marmite consumers. Our objective was excitement and advocacy about the product amongst the target consumer, so that by the time of retail launch there would already be strong desire to purchase the new product. Our strategy was to position the product as something only the true Marmite fan would be worthy of having – so that participation in the campaign would be a badge of honour for those people who really love Marmite. The creative solution was an exclusive club – The Marmarati – with an entertaining and humorous tone of voice from the Victorian era. Consumers competed to become members of the club, creating content about Marmite, sharing with thier networks and engaging with The Marmarati throughout the campaign in social media channels. The conversation within groups of Marmite consumers generated awareness and anticipation around the retail launch. On Facebook and Twitter, consumers posted updates about the availability of the product in specific retail locations, as the rush to be the first to try it saw retailers sell out immediately.

The Goal
Our objective was to generate awareness and word of mouth ahead of the retail launch. The target was very specific: existing Marmite consumers in the UK and Ireland who love the product in an extreme way (likely to eat Marmite every day, and eat more of the product when they do, spreading extra Marmite onto their toast). The campaign also needed to position the new product as more premium than normal Marmite, and communicate that it was a “must-have” item for the true Marmite fan.

The campaign delivered awareness, conversation and excitement about the launch of Marmite XO within the target audience of existing Marmite consumers. Over the four months of the campaign (mid-November 2009 to mid-February 2010), more than 150 blog posts covered the campaign achieving a combined estimated reach of 2.4 million online readers. Over 6,000 twitter updates mentioning “Marmarati” were posted. The website had 2,835 user registrations, and 66,895 votes were cast by 28,377 unique visitors with a total of 54,285 visits. Each visit was an average of 2:45 minutes in duration. Over 1,200 items of content were uploaded, and the 846 items that were approved to be published on the site generated over 302,000 web page views. The 51 videos that were submitted have combined views of over 7,300. The product sold out in half of the retail outlets it was available in within a week of it going on sale.

The campaign launched in November 2009 with an event, where fans swore an oath of allegiance, tasted three product recipes and gave feedback directly to the product and marketing team, who were dressed in character as the ‘Inner Circle’ of Marmarati. Our new members spread the word on their blogs and within their networks, building awareness of the next phase: a competition to join The Marmarati. Consumers demonstrated their love for Marmite by uploading poems, essays, songs, images, short films and animations to our website. In February 2010, the winners received two ‘prototype’ products: one Commemorative jar and one Tasting jar. We asked members to record their experience of tasting the product – called Marmite XO – and rewarded those who did with the status of Ambassador. Throughout the campaign we brought the Marmarati personality to life on Twitter and Facebook, answering questions, encouraging voting and submissions, and provoking conversations.

The Situation

Unilever were developing a new “extra-strong” variant of Marmite – an iconic food product in the UK. They wanted to launch the product by involving the existing fans of the brand, who were already very passionate about it. Marmite has a long-standing brand positioning of “You either Love it or you Hate it” and the launch campaign had to work within this framework.

The Strategy
The creative strategy involved the invention of a quirky, ‘secret society’ called The Marmarati, who have been guarding the secret recipe for Marmite for the last 100 years. Membership of this exclusive club, and the chance to be the amongst the first try the new product, was the motivation to participate in the campaign by creating and sharing content, asking friends to vote. We invited a small but very passionate group of ‘superfans’ – highly active in social media - to join The Marmarati. They attended a luxurious event and participated in the development of the product. We then asked them to help us recruit additional members, who had to prove how much they loved Marmite by uploading text, images or video to our website. We engaged continuously with the community that began to form around the campaign, provoking conversation and increasing awareness, anticipation and excitement around the retail launch.