The 90-second TV spot is in the style of animal rescue documentaries and features "Marmite Rescue Teams" saving neglected jars of Marmite from the backs of cupboards and taking them to a re-homing centre where they are paired with families of Marmite lovers.
The TV ad will drive users to a web landing page supporting the campaign's "overriding idea of ending Marmite neglect"; this page in turn will drive viewers to a Facebook app where they will have the opportunity to win supporter packs and nominate up to three friends to be visited by the Marmite Rescue Team who will deliver a rehoming pack.
The ad is complemented by out-of-home work on sites across the brand's key markets in the South and Midlands. Unilever UK brand manager for Marmite Joanne O'Riada said: "We're focusing on where the highest proportion of our sales are with the outdoor campaign [and] we have a very London-centric sales profile."
She added that the campaign, which runs until the 6 October, was being supported by "heavyweight social media activity" across Twitter, YouTube, Pinterest and Facebook, where Marmite recently passed the milestone of one million likes.
Commenting on the growth in Marmite's Facebook audience, O'Riada said: "We launched the page at the end of 2007 so it's been around for a couple of years, but our priority has always been on the quality of our fans over the quantity.
"It's been about organic growth with a focus on engagement and virality and I think that's one of the reasons why - compared to other FMCG brands - we get above-average engagement from a minimal [social marketing] spend."
Last year's on-air hiatus was down to the decision to focus on Marmite's special editions, according to O'Riada, including Ma'amite for the Queen's Diamond Jubilee and Marmite Gold, which was released in the run-up to Christmas.
"We took the decision last year to focus on our special editions, which is something we're very passionate about, and this year we're back to doing some above-the-line activity," she said.
"As a brand we are very reliant on our brand equity and we know that our sales growth and strong ROI are the result of great communications; we've been working on this campaign for the last couple of months to make sure we're back with a bang."
Client: Joanne O'Riada, brand manager
Creative: Nick Sheppard and Tom Webber