Marmite’s manufacturer, Unilever, sought an injunction against the BNP after a version of its party election broadcast appeared on its website with an image of a Marmite jar hovering inexplicably over leader Nick Griffin’s right ear.
Unsurprisingly, Unilever is stating that no permission to use the image had been given. The BNP has since removed the video and posted a rather defensive-sounding statement denying all responsibility. It blames an unnamed ‘joker’ who was ‘given the broadcast to review’ and then apparently inserted the jar of his or her own accord.
Whether officially sanctioned not, the video played nicely into the BNP’s ongoing spat with Marmite. The brand, whose slogan is ‘Love it or hate it’, has poked fun at Griffin and his ultra-right-wing acolytes via an ad campaign in which viewers are invited to vote for fictional ‘Love’ and ‘Hate’ parties.
The BNP surmised – possibly not without reason - that the ad’s decidedly Orwellian ‘Hate’ party was based on it. They didn’t seem to like this much. Perhaps sticking a jar of Marmite next to Griffin’s lughole was someone’s idea of a witty riposte.
The Marmite ads are the latest in a long line of funny but also genuinely satirical campaigns from the brand’s agency DDB. Funnier still is that the BNP considers them a ‘smear campaign’ worthy of being reported to both Ofcom and the police. Just how desperate for publicity can you get?
The whole spat seems rather pointless on both sides, however. Although we can understand Unilever not wanting its brands to be hijacked in this way, surely the great British public is unlikely to be taken in? It being pretty far-fetched that the nation's favourite B-vitamin rich toast-topping should suddenly decide to endorse far-right politics, after all.
As for the BNP and Nick Griffin, well, the only thing you can say with any confidence about them is that they sure know how to make fools of themselves. With only two weeks to go to the election, it will be diverting to see what other scrapes they can get into.
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