Has Marmite’s Brand Extension Into The Baby Aisle Gone A Step Too Far?

Marmite has always been a challenging product, and in recent years it’s embraced that as a brand with its Love/ Hate campaigns. But has it pushed the ‘so right’ v ‘so wrong’ aspect a step too far with its baby rice cake brand extension?

A quick straw poll of mums suggests so with a range of reactions:

Discomfort with brand stretch: “Is it me? or is it just wrong?”

Questioning credibility: “The packaging is very black and strong – it just doesn’t look right with the baby stuff”

Health concerns: “I’d be worried about the salt content”

Confusion: “What’s the difference between this and the adult Marmite rice cakes – it’s not clear”

Apathy: “Can’t I just spread a bit of Marmite on a rice cake?”

With so many barriers involved Marmite plays a dicey game; relying on their brand equity – people will buy it because it’s Marmite. And their health claim – “Rich in B Vitamins”. This might feel more comfortable if they were entering a safer category.

Yet it’s not completely new territory for Marmite, who apparently until the 1970’s marketed itself as a nutritious food for children. So who knows? If they can gain traction with mums, perhaps this most challenging of products can continue to surprise us.

Either way, from an innovation consultancy’s point of view, it feels like it could be easier won if they’d worked a little harder to reassure mums of their credentials and claims – especially the salt content. Demonstrating an understanding of the category would help the brand to seem less arrogant

Published 31st July 2013 by Natalie Reed @ the Strategy Distillery