Explosions every which way: the method behind Marmite’s ‘creative alchemy’

Last week, Marmite unveiled an explosive outdoor campaign to promote Marmite’s chilli-infused Dynamite spread.

Created by Adam & Eve/DDB, “Dynamite” featured a giant Marmite lid that had seemingly broken out of its 48-sheet poster and crashed into the windscreen of a nearby car.

The campaign, written by Alex Lucas and art directed by Jon Farley, followed in the footsteps of a solid spell of work from Marmite over the past few years, with celebrated activity including “Marmite gene project” and 2019’s “Mind control” campaign.

“Marmite has had a pretty good lockdown, all in all,” Ben Tollett, group executive creative director at Adam & Eve/DDB, told Campaign

In 2020, Marmite was able to navigate through an onslaught of challenges, including what Tollett referred to as “the great yeast shortage”, during which time the brand encouraged consumers not to waste their spreads via a series of press ads (right).

According to Tollett, lockdown had also ruined Adam & Eve/DDB’s initial plans to “go to James Day’s photography studio and help spray Marmite across the walls and floor”.

However, Marmite’s plans for a chilli spread “was a gift” according to Tollett, with planner Will Grundy coming up with the “Dynamite” brand positioning “in approximately 0.23 seconds” and propelling the agency onto an explosive trajectory, to say the least.

Tollett recounted: “We figured it probably needed an explosion at the heart of it, but what exactly? 

“We tried explosions every which way: big splats, small splats, airborne splats, seeking inspiration from Jackson Pollock and Cornelia Parker, broken jars, torn labels, bomb disposal robots, bomb suits…. nothing seemed quite right.” 

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After “many weeks” of brainstorming, creative team Alex Lucas and Jon Farley realised that “the exciting bit was the lid”, spurring on the “strategic and creative alchemy”, which appeared in Woolwich last week.

But it was the brand’s efforts to engage in branter on social media that gained the campaign viral attention, in keeping with Tulley’s claims that “a single poster site in Woolwich is never going to attract a huge number of eyeballs”. 

The brand successfully interacted with contemporaries including Autoglass, Uber, Robert Dyas and Mini Cheddars (to name a few), capitalising on Weetabix and Heinz Beanz’s provocative social media buzz just days earlier.

Marmite’s “Dynamite” campaign is set to make appearances in Manchester and London, with hopes that “social media will ensure enough people get to see it” as lockdown continues across the UK.


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