Oatly challenges Big Dairy over climate impact with free advertising offer


    • Oatly announced a new sustainability campaign challenging Big Dairy to fess up to its climate footprint in return for advertising space paid for by the company, according to details shared with Marketing Dive.
    • For the effort, the brand ran two-page print ads on May 7 in The New York Times, Los Angeles Times and Washington Post sharing its own climate footprint stats on one page and leaving the other “reserved” for companies willing to share similar details via a designated microsite.
    • The brand is also running the same ads on billboards in Hollywood and Times Square today (May 8). The effort follows Oatly’s recent choice to include its climate footprint on its products and arrives as consumers, especially Gen Z, prioritize environmentalism.


    As plant-based milk alternatives are on the rise, Oatly is angling for a larger share of the market, especially the more environmentally conscious younger demographic, which has been a key driver for the industry. Over half of Gen Z (54%) and nearly half of millennials (49%) prefer plant-based milk, per research the brand conducted with Researchscape International.

    Taking Big Dairy head on, Oatly is playfully promoting environmental transparency by very publicly touting its own carbon footprint in print ads and billboards, encouraging milk-sellers to do the same. To redeem its offer of free advertising, companies must visit a designated microsite and answer 68 questions — the same questions that Oatly answered to earn its climate certification, per release details. In return, the company will pay for one free out-of-home or print ad with a maximum value of $50,000.

    A print ad that ran in major newspapers on May 7

    Courtesy of Oatly


    The effort ties into Oatly’s larger push to begin printing its climate footprint on product labels, which it announced earlier this year in an effort to make sustainability information more accessible. The company also previously set a goal to reduce its climate footprint per liter of Oatly by 70% and ensure all of its product facilities meet “future factory” criteria by 2029.

    The brand in the past has unveiled similarly cheeky moves, including a hate-fueled website — aptly addressed to — dedicated to unpacking criticisms and questionable past efforts, noting on its homepage that it’s “super convenient to have the latest boycotts and criticisms all in one place.” It also ran a Super Bowl commercial in 2021 which featured its CEO Toni Petersson singing off-pitch about the milk-alternative with lyrics like, “Wow, no cow.”

    Others have similarly sought out eye-catching campaigns to promote plant-based options. For example, Greek yogurt brand Chobani last year launched a Roblox experience, dubbed the “Chobani Oatmilk Cosmic Race,” to promote its dairy-free products. In February, plant-based beverage brand Silk promoted its Nextmilk product by teaming with a handful of influencers, all of whom have famous parents, in a nod to the next generation of milk drinkers.


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