I only saw it for the first time last night, although I since understand it was released a good few weeks ago, and despite receiving over 500 complaints the Advertising Standards Authority will not be investigating it, claiming that 'most viewers will realise it's a spoof.'
Now, I'm not a hugely over-sensitive soul. I'm not often riled enough to complain to governing bodies. I'm no Mary Whitehouse, I swear, laugh sometimes at un-pc jokes and have been known to make the odd close to the knuckle joke or two myself.
But abuse, neglect and cruelty are NEVER funny. Surely?
The opening scene to me looks like a child protection raid, with uniformed figures conducting an early morning visit on a suburban house. The officer informs the man answering the door "we've had a couple of reports of neglect" as they enter the house and head for the kitchen. Inside the faces of the children are pixelated out, suggesting to me a child safeguarding issue.
The officers head straight for the food cupboards and start their inspection.
Neglect. Food cupboards.
I'm sorry, but in a world where Victoria Climie; Daniel Pelka and Hamzah Khan to name a few, all suffered extreme neglect and cruelty, were denied access to food, were severely malnourished and starved - is this the kind of thing a multi-national company should be poking fun at?
Michael Burke, a reporter associated with hard-hitting news reports and documentaries narrates the film:
"For those new to the job, such scenes of neglect can be traumatic"
while a uniformed officer, wearing latex gloves is see sat against the van outside, crying, and says to his colleague "I've not seen one that small before".
Because the images of animal cages and re-homing centres make reference to animal rescues, many of the complaints have been concerning belittling the issue of animal cruelty, and have since resulted in Unilever, Marmite's parent company donating £18,000 to the RSPCA.
Yes, there are references to animal welfare, also a subject hardly worthy of mockery, but to me my first impression and the one that will remain with me is the chilling similarities with child abuse cases.
So yes, I hate it. Shame on Unilever, and shame on Michael Burke for his involvement.
If you want to read more about why child neglect should not be an issue used as a marketing tool, read about Daniel Pelka's case over on Mummy Barrow's blog.