Dairy-free

Oatly’s quirky marketing style bringing pop-up free oat milk to major UK cities

Traditional marketing push with a nonsensical edge

Oatly has an unusual and rather “in your face” attitude to marketing putting itself at the forefront of a hipster generation adopting veganism. Now it has announced that it is touring the UK offering free coffee, tea and chocolate drinks – the aim is clear: to encourage consumers to ditch dairy and replace it with the Swedish company’s oat milk.

Oatly announced on a Facebook post that the pop-up container cafes will be appearing from 14th to 28th January in London, Glasgow, Bristol, Manchester and Brighton. The pop-ups will go by the name NOT MILK IS SO HOT RIGHT NOW and they will aim to connect to the brand’s millennial target audience.

Oatly will be offering skinny, semi or whole oat milk in the beverages in its pop-up coffee shops which will appear alongside a broader marketing campaign. This will include more traditional print and radio advertisements in addition to influencer and social activity.

“Nonsensical self-aware” for the post milk generation

Timed to coincide with Veganuary, the campaign is described in parts as having a “nonsensical self-aware theme”. One accompanying advertisement on the London Underground says: ‘If you don’t put that smartphone down how are you ever going to notice this ad for oat drink?’

Another reads: “It’s like milk, but made for humans”.

Another ad has a visual of the homemade-looking carton, saying: “You actually read this? Total Success”.

The homemade feel is quite deliberate. This was the strategy pursued in 2014 when the company underwent a complete rebrand.

A number of brands are vying for market share in the post milk generation. Oatly is certainly quirky in its marketing style adding to a compelling environmental message using a strong visual style.

Michael Lee, Oatly’s creative director said:

“So we’ve been mostly hanging around East London for a while now, chatting up the post-milk lifestyle to anyone willing to listen and figured it might be cool to spread our oat propaganda to parts of the UK we’ve never been to before. So if you find yourself thinking about oat drink on a bus in Manchester or imagining a more plant-based future on the streets of Glasgow, don’t worry, it’s just our advertising trying to sell you on a cooler, cow-less and altogether more progressive way of life – through oats. Or something like that.”

Lee adds: “It’s no longer a fringe trend anymore. We’re seeing it reflected as a shift in society and the numbers support that.”

The non-dairy alt milk market embraces almond milk, soya milk, coconut milk, rice milk, hazelnut milk and, of course, oat milk.

Oat milk is non-allergic and can be consumed by lactose-intolerant consumers. It also has a low saturated fat content and a good level of protein compared to other plant-based milk. It produces 73 per cent less CO2 emissions than cow’s milk and requires far fewer resources to produce than dairy milk.

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Jacobus Lavooij

Jacobus is an experienced editor and writer whose interest vegan issues began with understanding the environmental consequences of the food industry. He loves vegan food and is a passionate communicator of its benefits. He is a Dutch national and lives in Copenhagen, Denmark. Contact: jacobus@vegansbethechange.com
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