Marmite - The Gene Project Case Study

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Marmite is a sticky, salty, decidedly British breakfast spread, made from yeast extract. Powered by its polarising flavour, and its iconic ‘you’ll either love it, or you’ll hate it’ advertising campaign, it’s fed generations of hungry Brits, and disgusted many more.

But a long-term decline in media spend meant that fewer and fewer families were buying it. Instead, they were buying less challenging sweet spreads, like Nutella and honey. The result? By 2017, as many as 20% of parents refused to let their families try the brand. Somehow we needed to change this.

We’ve always known you either love it or you hate it. But in 2017 we set out to understand why.

We created the Marmite Gene Project – an ambitious scientific experiment that aimed to discover whether we are born lovers or haters, and give Marmite-hating parents a reason to reach for our jar again.

In partnership with cutting-edge genetics company, DNAFit, we tested 261 participants for a genetic link to Marmite preference. We released the results in an official white paper to the scientific community, generating a PR storm.

Shortly after, we created and released a Marmite Gene Testing Kit. Available for sale on, the Marmite Gene Test cross-references saliva samples against 16 DNA markers to determine whether you have The Marmite Gene.

The campaign was supported by a blockbuster TV ad, that launched across 120 channels at primetime on Saturday night, and was taken all the way through into store.

Sales +60% in Tesco where it was at risk of being delisted
Sales +11% in other retailers 1.4 billion earned impressions Brand awareness quadrupled, from 4% to 12% 


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