Love it or Hate it…

Robbie Williams switches on the Marmite Oxford Street Lights

Copyright: PA Images Yui Mok/PA Wire

Marmite and Robbie Williams have quite a bit in common.  Marmite has traded on being “loved” or “hated” since (and the various ad agencies that have bought this to life over recent years have created many of my favourite ads of all times.

Now Robbie Williams hasn’t traded his image in quite the same way, but for many he is just as polarising. For every woman in her 30’s swooning / going into labour early at the thought of another comeback tour, there are others (Radio 1 now included apparently), who would rather he got on a plane back to LA and started looking at the sky again.

However, both of these mega brands were bought together last week to switch on the lights at Oxford Street, which this year Marmite has sponsored.

Reading the story behind Marmite’s involvement in this event in the Metro this morning (executed by adam&eveDDB) we can see the attention to detail and creativity employed while continuing the famous Oxford Street heritage by recruiting Piggot’s, the 200-year-old firm who have been providing innovative street decorations to the West End since the 1950s.

And it reminds me of the key rules behind great sponsorship: when collaborations work best it is because they are carefully thought through – providing an authenticity and fit It is the combination of originality combined with currency, and sometimes also a complementary dose of controversy.

Given the (wannabee) celeb-fest which features heavily in TV schedules in the run up to Christmas, we can imagine the “talent” agencies of many Jungl-ers / Strictly-ers / X-factor hopefuls knocking on the door of many brands in the hope of winning that sponsorship contract.

But while part of the appeal of celebs is the currency and buzz they generate, a quick fix is not always the answer.  No doubt a lot of planning by Marmite and its ad agency went into the tie-up with Oxford Street.

The public hullabaloo over Radio 1’s refusing to play Robbie Williams’ single, the innovation of the new lights by the old firm along with the involvement of love-it-or-hate-it brand Marmite may have created the  perfect ‘storm’ of good publicity for all three.