Paddington Bear eats Marmite!
There’s quite a lot of slightly matted plush fur flying in Britain this week over the new Marmite TV ad, which features the lovable Paddington Bear, devotee of marmelade sandwiches, tucking into a Marmite sandwich. It made so much of a furor that it even made the evening news on the BBC yesterday. Paddington Bear creator Michael Bond has been accused of selling out and for supplying the script for the commercial (he has denied both). There have been dozens of news stories and editorials devoted to it (my favorite headline is What Next, Rupert Bear in Burberry?).
I’ve written about my fondness for Marmite before. I also grew up reading Paddington Bear, who, despite having come from Darkest Peru, may be the most British of bears, more so than Winnie the Pooh and edging out Rupert. I can understand the fuss a little bit - people want their childhood heroes to remain just the way they are. On the other hand, it is rather funny that so many seem to be taking it so seriously. I suppose that years of being conditioned to Disney and other characters being plastered all over various products has desensitized me to marketing tie-ins and product placement and all of that. And at least, Paddington is endorsing a very British and fairly good-for-you (barring the salt content) product, not a Happy Meal. It could be that Paddington is displaying some media savvy with this move, since it’s been announced that he will be appearing in a big screen feature film soon too. Good for the old bear.
You can check out the ad for yourself on YouTube. I think it’s great, with the typical deprecating sense of humor shown in other Marmite ads. (He makes a Marmite and cheese sandwich, which reminds me that Marmite is pretty good on grilled cheese…)