UK ad agencies allowed to have a sense of humour – official

504 complaints against the Unilever Marmite ad- can you adam&eve it*?

Here at GoMo Towers we feel that it is something of a minor victory that in the UK, advertising agencies are allowed to exercise a sense of humour in the face of killjoys who complain about everything. The advert in question was actually a TV advert which was put together by the Adam&EveDDB agency. Non-Brits must be worrying what all the fuss is about.

For starters, the Brits as a nation show more concern about animals than they do about children. The body aiming to protect dogs and cats is a Royal one (RSPA).

Whereas the institution dedicated to helping children is a mere national one (NSPCC).

So when jars of Marmite (a savoury paste similar to Vegemite in Australia) are portrayed in the TV advert as being ‘saved from neglect’, there was considerable uproar.

Actually, the ad attracted 504 official complaints to the UK’s ad watchdog – the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA). Which is an impressively high number in the UK.

Apprently the ad “trivialises” the work of both animal welfare charities as well as child protection agencies.

Luckily the ASA is made of sterner stuff and declared that, whilst some TV viewers may find the theme and style of the ads distasteful, the majority would recognise the ads were a spoof.

“They [the UK public] were unlikely to cause serious or widespread offence. They were light-hearted in tone and did not trivialise issues of abuse or denigrate the work of child and animal protection services.”

Obviously, Unilever (which makes Marmite) was happy to declre that, “We are delighted to hear that the ASA has decided not to investigate our current #MarmiteNeglect advert.”

If you want to see what all the fuss is about, there’s a link to the video below. We’re just glad that humour won out at the end of the day.

* Of course we couldn’t resist the use of cockney rhyming slang in the strap line. Adam & eve is cockney for believe.

About Hans Cett

Hans Cett is an established freelance author and consultant specialising in the mobile communications industry. He also writes for Countdown2MWC -
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