The Great Marmite Experiment
If you have a captive audience you really should expoit them somehow. If financial gain is your bag, you could form a cult. But if like me, you thirst for knowledge, then you’ll perform experiments on them.
And no captive audience is as willingly captive as a Japanese audience. Especially if you give them an inkling the test is based on the number one national obsession – food. They’ll be rattling those cage bars in short order.
For years, the company that makes Marmite have been building brutally honest advertising campaigns around the fact that there’s a good chance you’ll hate their product.
I wanted to see whether my test group would “love it or hate it” in equal measure.
And after a week’s hard testing (yeah, really hard starting every lesson with a slice of toast and watching the looks on people’s faces), here are the results.
No. of people tested = 25
Loved it = 13
Hated it = 12
So Marmite splits Japanese opinion in much the same way as it does in Britain. There were some interesting reactions as people grasped for something to compare it to – some suggested miso, one or two thought it similar to overcooked soy sauce, and a few even reckoned it was cheesy.
One of the early test subjects suggested a problem with the experiment – “Japanese people are too polite to tell you if they hate it.” I assured him I’d considered this, and didn’t think it would be a problem. Which he then found out for himself, as he spluttered, face screwed up, and reached for a drink.