Unilever sues BNP party over Marmite broadcast

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LONDON (Reuters) - Unilever has launched legal action to stop the far-right British National Party using an image of a jar of the company’s Marmite spread in an online political broadcast.

“We want to make it absolutely clear that Marmite did not give the BNP permission to use a pack shot of our product,” a spokesman for the consumer goods giant said Thursday.

“We are currently initiating injunction proceedings against the BNP to remove the Marmite jar from their online broadcast and prevent them using it in future.”

Unilever uses the notion that Marmite’s taste strongly divides opinion in its marketing, and has launched a campaign to coincide with the General Election asking consumers to vote for spoof “love” or “hate” parties based on their preference for the yeast-based spread.

The BNP said Marmite’s “hate-party” campaign copied its own party political broadcasts.

“The hate party on the Marmite adverts is clearly a copycat of (BNP leader) Nick Griffin sat behind an almost identical desk, with medals on the wall,” said BNP press spokesman John Walker.

“They have chosen to step into the political arena and try to use subliminal psychology on the electorate. We will take the Marmite ad off when they stop ripping off our election broadcast.”

Reporting by Paul Sandle, editing by Will Waterman