LONDON: Marmite, the brand people either love or hate, opted for a PR-led approach with its latest campaign, based around the idea that consumers may be genetically predisposed in their taste preferences for the spread.

“We were going to conduct a real experiment with a real scientific organisation and we were going to do this in a way that created headlines first and ads second,” Will Grundy, Planning Director at adam&eveDDB, the brand's long-term agency, told WARC.

The experiment involved 260 people trying Marmite and filling out a questionnaire stating whether they loved or hated the spread; DNA samples were then collected from them and sent for a genetic analysis to identify markers associated with “Marmite taste preference”. (For more details, read WARC’s exclusive report: How Marmite increased sales by 33% with the Gene Project.)

A white paper detailing the findings was published on Marmite’s website, and the audience was encouraged to engage through a taste-test and to buy their own DNA Kits, as well as special edition Gene Jars.

The brand didn’t really expect many people to pay £90 for a kit, Grundy admitted, but that was never the point of the exercise.

“What the kits did was massively extend the reach of the campaign to journalists, influencers and celebrities in a really fresh, credible way,” he explained.

“In research, we saw that the vast majority of people understands that what we’re trying to do is not sell them that £90 testing kit, but encourage them to go down to their local Tesco or Sainsbury’s and pick up a jar of Marmite again.”

And so far, the evidence indicates that they’re succeeding. When the campaign launched in September, Marmite sales went up by 60% in Tesco and by 11% in other retailers, resulting overall in a 33% sales uplift compared with the same period in 2016.

This result is particularly impressive considering that September 2016 had been a very successful time for the brand, with consumers panic-buying the spread upon news that Tesco was looking to pull it off its shelves due to post-Brexit price surges.

Sourced from WARC