Cannes Lions

Tips for First-Timers

adam&eveDDB, London / MARMITE / 2024

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Marmite was in a sticky spot. Competition from sweet breakfast spreads like Nutella had created a ‘generational hole’ - 43% of 18-24 year olds had reached adulthood without ever having tried it. This spelled disaster for the brand, as we know that people are 8x more likely to be lovers if they try it as children. So we needed to get young adults to give Marmite a go, before they went on to have their own kids and repeat the cycle of doom. Our number 1 objective was trial. But it wasn't going to be easy, because our research revealed that they were intimidated by Marmite, didn’t know where to start with the darky and smelly stick stuff, and with their parents no longer serving it to them, they were likely to try it in the wrong way.


Their parents had failed these Marmite virgins. They were totally ill-prepared to get it on with our strong, sticky product. If we didn't do something they would never try it, or try it wrong and be put off for life. They might spread it on too thickly, not use it with butter, or worse, eat a spoonful of it on it's own. So, we developed a guide for Marmite virgins, to help them through their first-time: Tips for First-Timers. An education in the basics of 'getting it on' for a generation of young adults who missed out on trying the product as children. The teachers? Two filthy-minded puppets demonstrating the right and wrong way to try Marmite for the first time, set to a remixed techno track that told our audience exactly what to do.


We ran nationally-representative research about Marmite consumption, compared it with data we had gathered over the past decade, and studied today's breakfast habits. We uncovered that Marmite virgins were a growing, urgent problem. 43% of 18-24 year olds. It wasn't that they weren't eating breakfast (they were) or that they weren't eating toast (they were), it was that they weren't eating Marmite on toast because they weren't exposed to it as children. They were predominantly students, and a huge number living in the North West of England. So we developed hyper-targeted executions designed to directly reach and engage this resistant audience with a clear trial-driving CTA at the heart: Love it. Hate it. Get it on. We knew our creative approach would need to appeal to young people spending their time on TikTok, and we decided that Freshers' Week was an ideal time to prompt experimentation and shift habits.


"We began during Freshers' Week with an educational music video starring two filthy-minded puppets and a banging techno track, inviting first-timers to get it on. Huge reach, including 64M+ views on TikTok gave them a taste.

Then our puppets created profiles on Tinder, where 85,471 Marmite virgins swiped right, to see where things would go. Our Tinder messages, offering a discount at a local supermarket, had an open rate of 142%. Clearly the Marmite virgins were keen.

So our puppets went to the Marmite virgin capital of the UK: Manchester, where we blasted our track over the airwaves of student radio and TV, took over Manchester’s biggest student club with an unforgettably steamy sampling event, handed out thousands of Marmite samples that looked suspiciously like condoms,

and even put Marmite on the menu at Manchester’s favourite late night takeway, giving Marmite virgins a first time to remember."


Our objective was trial. Our campaign got 1.6 million Marmite virgins to try it for the first time. This meant a 15% reduction in the total number of Marmite virgins in the UK. Nationally total sales of Marmite increased by 10% in the 5 weeks following launch, whereas sales were on a path to decline before the campaign. Recruiting these adults was a massive win, as the brand has traditionally relied on trial during childhood to produce Marmite lovers. Normally, 80% of all people who eat Marmite tried it as a child. It has transformed Marmite's marketing efforts, from advertising to a shrinking pool of existing users, to focusing on trial and recruitment of a new generation.

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