The Brand Radar: Marmite, M&S and how food brands use licensing to thrive

Marmite is a brand that divides opinion amongst consumers – as the brand’s advertising strapline says ‘You Either Love It or Hate It’.

Marmite is a brand that has used licensing as an active part of its marketing strategy. It’s owned by Unilever and the firm handles the licensing of the Marmite directly.

Before we delve into it’s licensing life, we should tackle the spread itself! Marmite is made from yeast extract, an accidental by-product of the brewing industry.

Throughout its life as a brand, Marmite has been inventive, and Unilever seems to use licensing to stretch the brand, encourage consumer trail and to create momentum on social media.

Of course, a key reason to develop food products under license is to allow the Marmite taste to reach consumers in new ways. Recent food products they have produced include Marmite crackers, hummus, crisps and breadsticks.

An eye catching new release are Marmite Cheese Hot Cross Buns – these are being sold exclusively through Marks & Spencer. The Hot Cross Buns – released for Easter for a limited time – are made with mature Cheddar and Red Leicester cheeses, combined with Marmite.

Most people wouldn’t have put Marmite, Easter and Hot Cross Buns together but yet again Unilever have used brand licensing to create a stir and Marks & Spencer have got an exclusive product which helps them stand out in a crowded retail marketplace.

In many respects, Marmite is a great case study of how a food brand can use licensing to help it survive and thrive. It is always a brand worth watching in the licensing space.

You might even grow to ‘Love It!’

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