Marmite gets illustrated for ad campaign

Unilever brand Marmite is launching an integrated advertising campaign featuring children’s storybook characters Horrid Henry and Perfect Peter.

Launching this week, a national press campaign created by Iris will feature the popular characters as part of Marmite’s tie-up with the DCSF’s ‘Reading For Life’ – a government initiative that promotes the benefits of enjoying reading from a young age.

Marmite will be giving away free audiobook downloads as part of the initiative, and will give life to its 'love it or hate it' brand positioning with two alternative promotional jars: ‘Marmite is perfect’ and ‘Marmite is horrid’, which feature illustrations by renowned illustrator Tony Ross.

In addition to this and the press campaign, which features special print ads in a wide variety of consumer titles, Iris has created two 40 second radio ads with the aim of targeting families with children aged between 6 and 10 years old.

An online splash page has been developed by AKQA as part of the campaign, and there will also be a PR drive by Splendid.

To redeem their free audiobook, consumers must find their unique code on the jar, enter it at and follow the download instructions. There are five Horrid Henry stories to collect.

Cheryl Calverley, marketing manager for Marmite, said: “Marmite is very excited to team up with Reading for Life and the Horrid Henry stories in particular have a great resonance with Marmite fans. Whether you think Marmite is horrid (like Henry) or perfect (like Peter) audiobooks are a great way to keep your kids out of mischief."

Grant Hunter, creative director at Iris’s London office, added: “We’re letting Horrid Henry and Perfect Peter loose on ATL media to engage mums and that’s the fun bit: ads aimed at mothers, such as faux beauty ads and fake editorial, have seemingly been sabotaged by the two characters.

"The campaign is playful and through its association to these well-loved characters will communicate the fun aspects of reading, generating interest in the importance and value of what we’re giving away. It goes to show that properties, when leveraged in the right way, can really add value to a brand’s proposition.”

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