Unilever's Marmite sends fans on AR treasure hunt
- Unilever is running a contest that sends mobile users on an augmented reality (AR) treasure hunt to win the world's most expensive jar of Marmite, the British food spread. The week-long contest offers a grand prize of a gold-plated jar of Marmite valued at $2,100, according to Campaign.
- To enter the game, smartphone users can download the free AR treasure hunt app Snatch, which Unilever partly owns. Participants then open the app to search for Marmite icons on a digital map. After finding an icon, the app opens a mini-game with a digital image of a Marmite jar emerging from the floor.
- The app asks players if they were "born a lover" or "born a hater" of the polarizing food spread made from yeast extract. After answering the question, players are awarded with a randomly selected prize that could be a personalized jar of Marmite or the golden jar grand prize.
Unilever recognizes that Marmite isn't for everyone in its longer-running effort called the "Marmite Gene Project," which claims to have scientific evidence that heredity determines whether someone likes the food spread. Some people like its salty and savory flavor, while others are disgusted by its acrid piquancy. The AR treasure hunt on Snatch is a lighthearted way to boost brand buzz and engage people in an immersive experience that encourages them to revisit the brand or try it out for the first time.
In September, Marmite ran a mobile-based promotion that asked consumers to taste-test the product while visiting the TasteFace web app on a smartphone or desktop computer. The app used facial recognition technology to read their reactions to the food spread's flavor and rate how much the product was liked or disliked on a scale of 0 to 100. It also offered saliva test kits to obtain DNA samples from consumers. A humorous video reveals how the results impact different families when they discover whether they are a "hater" or a "lover."
Snatch has developed AR treasure hunts for a variety of consumer brands, including Amstel, Topshop, Just Eat and Pizza Hut. Last summer, Dutch brewer Amstel offered a prize of 10,000 free pints of beer to players who used the Snatch app to find nearby virtual parcels to "snatch" with their smartphones, à la Pokemon Go. After grabbing the parcel, players had to keep an eye on it for six hours to prevent other players from stealing it away, according to Next Reality.
Meanwhile, Unilever in December reached a deal to sell its spreads business — excluding Marmite and Hellmann's mayonnaise — to private equity firm KKR for $8 billion after shopping around for a buyer since April. The business, which consisted mostly of margarine brands had gone through years of restructurings and other efforts to revive sales as consumers ate less bread.