Oatly, the Swedish oat milk maker that has taken the world by storm, has turned heads again. This time, the plant-based firm decided to run a pretty weird advert of its CEO Toni Petersson singing a song in a field about Oatly during the Super Bowl. Needless to say, the reaction it got was weird. But boy, did it get a reaction – which was perhaps the whole point.
The commercial Oatly ran during the Super Bowl, which lasted around 30-seconds (they also ran a 60 second spot), featured Petersson singing about oat milk in an original jingle he wrote called “Wow, No Cow”. He sang it in the middle of a field of oats. It was strange to watch, perhaps even a little painful for some viewers, but whether you loved it or hated it, there’s no denying it got the whole world talking about Oatly.
Putting the days of its Blackstone controversy behind, the hugely successful oat milk brand – which has always been known for its unconventional and bold marketing tactics – decided to run an ad that was unforgettable, a low-budget video filmed in 2014 that had previously aired in Sweden and caused the Swedish dairy industry to sue the company.
Here are just a few of the reactions that took over the Twitterverse as Super Bowl fans across the U.S. and around the world tuned in to watch the game.
But it still matters, even if people hated it, because it’s getting everyone talking about it – and we’re talking about everyone, because the Super Bowl is the epitome of visibility when it comes to branding. Almost every year, the event becomes the most-watched television programme across the U.S. and the second globally. Not to mention that Oatly spent a pretty penny on the campaign- according to Ad Age, a 30 second Super Bowl spot costs US$ around $5.5 million.
To see an alternative dairy brand that would have been laughed out of the room a mere decade ago run a major commercial during the Super Bowl is testament to just how far the industry of plant-based milk alternatives has come.
Oatly has no doubt benefited from the extra sales boost in the wake of the coronavirus-driven shift away from animal proteins, which has put major traditional dairy farms on the brink of an existential crisis, say experts. Demand has skyrocketed so much that overall oat milk sales have increased triple-digits, with Oatly themselves undertaking an impressive international expansion, partnering with coffee giant Starbucks to launch in eight Asian markets and in China – the fastest-growing major economy in the world.
The brand has grown so much that rumours have been flying round that it’s planning to go public this year amid the IPO boom.
Releasing a commercial watched by tens of millions of viewers will only propel the brand further into the mainstream. It’s a genius PR move really, both to the benefit of Oatly’s own agenda, and the wider plant-based movement – much like what tech giant Apple did to introduce its Apple Macintosh computer in a startling 1984 Super Bowl commercial, kicking off the digital revolution that changed the world as we know it.
Amid the wave of confused, bewildered and even angry viewers who are ranting on about Oatly’s weird ad, some Twitter folks have pointed out exactly that getting a reaction was the idea. We couldn’t agree more.
Lead image courtesy of Oatly.