Why Is Oatly Offering Competitors Free Ad Space?

Why Is Oatly Offering Competitors Free Ad Space?

News by Anja PaspaljAnja Paspalj
Published: May 11, 2023

Oatly’s new advertising campaign sets out to challenge its dairy competitors by calling upon the holy grail of campaigning – free advertising space. 

The Swedish plant-based alternative drink company has implemented an unexpected sustainability practice this year. Since January, Oatly started labelling its products with information on their climate impact, giving consumers an inside look at how sustainable what they are buying is. 

Oatly’s newest campaign sets out to do the same by implementing the strategy of top creative agenciesBy offering free advertising space to its competitors, Oatly is challenging dairy companies to publicly answer 68 questions about their climate footprints.  

What do they get in return? Print ads featured in The New York Times, Washington Post, and Los Angeles Times and enormous billboards in Hollywood and Time Square.  

However, the oat drink company doesn’t see this as a way of challenging its competitors.  

Instead, they claim that the motivation behind this campaign is transparency. Ideally, transparency around the impact products have on our planet will allow consumers to make more informed purchases.  

Oatly’s publication of statistics as a company with a plant-based alternative to dairy could be seen as a marketing move itself. As part of the campaign, the company released statistics such as one stating that Oatly Barista uses 71% less water to produce than cow’s milk.  

Oatly itself has faced backlash regarding its position as a sustainability in the past.  

Several of its environmental missteps have been documented in the company’s “Fck Oatly” website where they are publicly addressed, presenting an innovative approach to reputation management

Considering Oatly’s former controversies, it will be interesting to see how its new campaign challenging dairy companies will progress, or whether it will be another topic for “Fck Oatly.”  

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