Marmite: it's one of those foodstuffs that takes ages to get through, builds up a gloopy outer layer on its jar and occasionally lies out of use for so long the lid gets a bit stuck on with a hardened layer of salty brown goodness. Unilever have taken advantage of the omnipresence of the distinctive dark brown and yellow jar in Britain's pantries and have come up with an advert that likens the abandonment of Marmite to the neglect of an animal.

With the slogan 'Marmite neglect,' the brand's new advert is shot in the style of one of those ubiquitous day-in-the-life animal rescue programmes that pepper daytime TV. A 'Marmite Rescue' team are seen entering houses to intervene with scenes of 'neglect'; usually gravely pulling a sticky jar out of the back of someone's cupboard whilst the 'abuser' looks on remorsefully. The rescued jars are seen taken away gently in mini pet carriers to the 'Marmite Rehoming Centre' where new prospective 'owners' pick their pre-loved jar.

Watch The Offending Marmite Neglect Ad:

On the brand's YouTube channel where the vid was posted, the description reads "Unloved and forgotten, thousands of Marmite jars across the UK are being neglected. This year alone, over 1 in 10 Brits admit they haven't opened their jar in over three months. Through this latest Marmite advert, we've launched an urgent appeal to prevent cruelty, alleviate suffering and promote kindness to all Marmite jars" and urging viewers to get involved via website link.

The image of a happy family round a kitchen table enjoying their rehomed Marmite jar at the end is accompanied by the message "Love it. Hate it. Just don't forget it."

The advert is clearly meant to tickle your funny bone but the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) has apparently received 278 complaints from those who watched the advert following its debut on Monday (5th August) evening, reports BBC News.

Watch A 2002 Marmite Advert Featuring Zippy:

Despite the high level of complaints on the same evening, the watchdog won't take any further action to ban the commercial. The Unilever-owned brand have also commented on the matter with a rather eye-rolling statement citing Marmite's long-running love it/hate it brand campaign: "We believe we have created an unmistakably Marmite ad - people will either love it or hate it and they certainly won't forget it."

Now, the RSPCA have also chipped in, saying that they acknowledge the concern of animal lovers and "plan to talk to the makers of Marmite about how [they] can work together on animal welfare."