Brands are always pissing people off whether intentionally or unintentionally. One only need look at Hell’s Pizza’s or Tui’s advertising to know that. But as that old saying goes “There’s no such thing as bad publicity”, and in light of Burgerfuel’s billboard being taken down recently, we thought we’d look into whether that’s really true. Here are a few case studies and some insights from a PR company’s perspective.
Marmite has been a huge topic of interest in New Zealand over the past few years, with the closure of Sanitarium’s Christchurch factory after the earthquake leading to ‘Marmageddon’. But the Marmite brand has a different problem in the UK: people keep forgetting to use it. So it’s spoofed the current crop of animal welfare reality shows with an ad showing some horrible cases of yeast-based neglect.
Sanitarium and Saatchi & Saatchi made the best of a bad yeast-based situation by creating the Don’t Freak Out campaign and focusing on the brand’s ‘flawsomeness’. And, not surprisingly, it’s also making the most of Marmite’s long-awaited comeback, with a Facebook countdown, a bit of a PR offensive and another rousing speech from the father of the nation, Graham Henry, congratulating Kiwis on getting through these dark days.
Marmageddon has been a harrowing time for lovers of yeast-based spreads. But it’s been a boon for the media. And, remarkably, there’s still a bit more blood to be squeezed out of this particular stone, because Saatchi & Saatchi, Spark PR & Activate, Sanitarium and photographer Chris Sisarich have come up with a novel way to raise funds for The Rebuild Christchurch Foundation this Christmas by auctioning 19 photographs of empty Marmite jars donated by New Zealand celebrities including Rachel Hunter, Sir Graham Henry, Jaquie Brown and Trelise Cooper.
Absence, they say, makes the heart grow fonder. And, after the Sanitarium factory was knocked around by the Christchurch earthquakes, passionate yeast spreaders have been pining for their regular slathering of Black Gold. So, in what most see as a company making the best of a bad situation and what some cynics see as a stunt to raise the profile of the brand, Sanitarium and Saatchi & Saatchi launched the Don’t Freak Out campaign to assure eaters Marmite would be back. And it’s continued that approach with a competition asking Kiwis to prove how far they’ll go to protect their stash.