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Earlier this month we covered a near-perfect example of online/offline collaboration from Cadbury throughout its Giles Deacon campaign. Now Marmite has raised the bar with word-of-mouth activity surrounding the launch of super-strength spread MXO.

Last week, Marmite’s new product was launched to a roomful of bloggers, influencers and journalists as they were inducted into the secret society of the ‘Marmarati’.

At the hands of We Are Social, Marmite lovers were found via social networks, blogs or sought out as well-known fans. A select group of 40 were sent an email from the secret society, then received a phone call from a character called William Fotherington-Smythe, and eventually sent a beautifully crafted paper invite to the induction ceremony.

Arriving at the Central London location last Thursday, the group was told the story of the new product’s creation (which happens to mark the 100th birthday of the invention of the toaster) and introduced to the seven elders of the Marmarati, with Marmite’s CEO playing ‘Lord Marmarati’. They then blind-tasted three iterations of the product and were told that their feedback on flavour, as well as reaction to initial jar designs, would directly affect which version will be launched to the public after Christmas.

After a reception filled with Marmite-flavoured cocktails and canapés, the first wave of the Marmarati were told about a private Facebook group (set up to create a community around the most passionate fans) and instructed to keep their eyes peeled for further instructions. The website went live yesterday and is now accepting applications.

This kind of event relies on pitch-perfect execution, combined with speedy follow-up to ensure the message reaches the second wave of fans. It’s a rarity for a brand to get so involved in the details, but this senior buy-in could be why the campaign has ticked both boxes perfectly.

Unusually, the concept doesn’t rely on the participants writing about the event but recruiting fans online. It plays on the concept that truly passionate evangelists are more likely to engage with likeminded advocates and pass on the word, which is more effective than a one-off recommendation from a high-profile influencer. Marmite is a legacy brand and is uniquely placed when it comes to strength of feeling. The ‘Love it or hate it’ tag is there for a reason.

This activity was also supported by Marmite’s lead agency, Splendid Communications, through its work on a pop-up shop on Regent Street.

Vikki Chowney is editor of nma.co.uk’s sister site Reputation Online, aimed at those responsible for managing brand reputation online and building a better digital presence

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Published 17 November, 2009 by NMA Staff

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