My mate Marmite Part 2


FOR almost a century Marmite, which I first wrote about here, has been a byword for clever marketing. The first significant advertising campaign began in the 1930s with the emphasis on the yeasty spread’s health-giving qualities. With the world becoming increasingly aware of the importance of vitamins, potential customers were advised: ‘A small quantity added to the daily diet will ensure you and your family are taking sufficient vitamin B to keep nerves, brain, and digestion in proper working order.’ Slightly snappier was the slogan: ‘The growing up spread you never grow out of’, which still featured in this grainy TV advert from 1970. It continued to be used for many years, as in this 1978 effort.

During the 1980s, the product was advertised with the slogan ‘My mate, Marmite’ chanted by an army platoon

For many years TV ads featured the US band War’s song Low Rider. 

The real masterstroke came in 1996, when the marketing agency BMP DDB came up with the ‘Love it or Hate it’ campaign. Executives Andy McLeod and Richard Flintham were racking their brains for advertising ideas. McLeod said: ‘I remember sitting in my office looking at the brief and saying to Richard, “I f***ing hate Marmite.” And he said, “Oh, I love it.” And we both just looked at each other.’

Here are two adverts shown close together in 1997, one showing Marmite lovers, the other haters.

This classic shows a breastfeeding mother tucking into Marmite on toast only for her baby to puke all over her.

On a similar theme, expectant mothers are scanned to see if their babies will like Marmite. 

A young couple on their first date eventually kiss, only for the boy to cough and retch because the girl has just had a bite of Marmite on toast. 

Here is a spoof election broadcast by the Hate Party, demanding that Marmite aficionados be ostracised. 

And here the Marmite question is compared to the Brexit debate.

One of the most controversial campaigns lampooned animal rescue charities, showing a hit squad rescuing and rehoming neglected jars of Marmite. 

Here’s another on the theme of neglect. The crap magician is apparently a former EastEnders ‘star’.

One memorable ad involved a ‘Marmite Clinic’ where patients were tested for their love or hate reaction to the product. 

Here a man with a broken arm tries to get into a recalcitrant jar. 

Here, Paddington Bear is roped into the action, trying an alternative to his customary marmalade sandwiches. And here he is again. 

Here’s one from 2018 featuring genetic testing for Marmite preference or aversion. 

And finally, here’s a highly annoying one from last year featuring sock puppets. 

As part of the slick marketing, there is of course a Marmite online store featuring all manner of merchandise. This includes a cookbook with 52 recipes, some more outlandish than others. For example:  

Banana and bacon French toast

Serves 1


2 rashers unsmoked back bacon

2 slices rustic stale white bread

Marmite for spreading

1 banana, peeled and mashed

Pinch of cinnamon

1 medium free-range egg

25ml milk

25g butter


Grill the bacon until just crisp. Spread one slice of bread with Marmite and then the mashed banana, a sprinkling of cinnamon and top with the rashers of crispy bacon. Put the other slice of bread on to the sandwich and press down firmly.

In a flat dish whisk together the egg and milk and dip both sides of the sandwich into it. Meanwhile melt the butter in a heavy-based frying pan until just sizzling, then add the sandwich. Cook for a few minutes on each side until golden and crisp. Devour while still warm.

[Whoever would have thought of combining banana, bacon, cinnamon and Marmite? Don’t knock it ’til you’ve tried it. I think it works fine although I usually have plain toast rather than the French.]

Peach, parma ham and ricotta sandwich

Serves 4


4 small ciabatta breads

1 teaspoon Marmite

250g ricotta

4 large slices parma ham

2 ripe peaches, stoned and sliced

Handful of salad leaves

Freshly ground black pepper


Halve the ciabattas and open them up. Mix together the Marmite and ricotta, and spread liberally inside each ciabatta. Divide the ham, peaches and salad leaves equally between the breads and season with pepper. Replace the top of the sandwich and enjoy.

[Again, I find the addition of Marmite makes this snack greater than the sum of its parts.]

Roquefort, prawn and pear salad

Serves 4


100ml olive oil

55ml lemon juice

1 teaspoon Marmite

Freshly ground black pepper

Pinch of smoked paprika

4 ripe pears

Mixed salad leaves

225g peeled prawns

100g Roquefort

4 spring onions, diced


Put the oil and most of the lemon juice in a blender with the Marmite, pepper and paprika and zap for 20-30 seconds. Peel and core the pears, cut into 1cm slices and place in water and lemon juice to keep them from browning. (Lemon juice on its own will taint the flavour of the fruit). On a plate, arrange a handful of mixed leaves into a nest. Lay in the sliced pear and crumble the Roquefort over the top. Sprinkle on the spring onions, drizzle with the Marmite vinaigrette and serve.

[Yum. Roquefort in Marmite vinaigrette. What’s not to like?]

Devilled kidneys

Serves 3-4


2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce

1 teaspoon Marmite

1 tablespoon tomato puree

1 tablespoon lemon juice

1 tablespoon French mustard

Good pinch cayenne pepper

8 lamb kidneys

Half a teaspoon fennel seeds

25g unsalted butter

Freshly ground black pepper

Chopped fresh parsley


Mix together the Worcestershire sauce, Marmite, tomato puree, lemon juice, mustard and cayenne in a small bowl. Cut each kidney into three and remove the hard fat [which I fry up and give to the dog]. Melt the butter in a frying pan and when sizzling slide in the kidneys. Toss the kidneys and fennel seeds in the butter for 3-4 minutes, season with black pepper then add the spicy mixture. Keep tossing the whole dish for another minute until the kidneys are coated in the rich sauce. Serve with basmati rice or thick toasted triangles and scatter with the parsley.

[I like to pair devilled kidneys with fried bread for that special weight watcher’s touch. I use half the amounts in the recipe and scoff the lot myself.]

Cream cheese, pistachio and watercress crumpets

Serves 2


4 crumpets

Unsalted butter [I always use salted, preferably the French stuff from Waitrose with sea salt crystals in it].

Marmite for spreading

75g cream cheese

50g chopped pistachios

A bunch of watercress


Toast and butter the crumpets. Spread with Marmite according to taste (thickly, in my case) and then the cream cheese

Sprinkle the pistachios over the top and finally pile on some good sprigs of watercress. The combination of the salty Marmite, creamy cheese and peppery watercress is divine, hence two per person.

[I’ll second that!]

Old jokes’ home

The wife and I recently bought the box set of The Sopranos and watched it back to back. Unfortunately, I wasn’t the one facing the TV.

A PS from PG

Anatole, the French chef at Brinkley Court, continues his rant, started here, after seeing a face at his bedroom window.

All right? Nom d’un nom d’un nom! The hell you say it’s all right! Of what use to pull stuff like that? Wait one half-moment. Not yet quite so quick, my old sport. It is by no means all right. See yet again a little. It is some very different dishes of fish. I can take a few smooths with a rough, it is true, but I do not find it agreeable when one play larks against me on my windows. That cannot do. A nice thing, no. I am a serious man. I do not wish a few larks on my windows. I enjoy larks on my windows worse as any. It is very little all right. If such rannygazoo is to arrive, I do not remain any longer in this house no more. I buzz off and do not stay planted.

PG Wodehouse, Right Ho, Jeeves

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