It’s like milk, but made for humans is the kind of brand promise that, no doubt, Oatly’s competitors wish they’d thought of. But it’s in Oatly’s style, not theirs – human, conversational, bold and relatable. Oatly has mastered the art of making friends with its customers. Now it is bringing its slogan in campaign form to New Zealand
The brand knows what it owns with that slogan. And it has fought very hard to keep it. The slogan launched in a campaign in Sweden in 2015 and Oatly was sued by the country’s dairy industry, which argued that Oatly’s marketing activity disparaged cow’s milk as unhealthy. It tried to file an application to register the slogan at the European Union Intellectual Property Office (the EUIPO) in March 2019 and was turned down. Oatly didn’t give up. It was a long hard-fought battle but, eventually, Oatly won – in March 2021.
Oatly says that its product and its slogan go back to a few decades ago when they looked into the nutritional characteristics of oats and thought, “What if we forgot cows altogether and turned these oats directly into a drink you could enjoy in your porridge or muesli or a raspberry smoothie?” There have been huge ad wins and a couple of ad losses since. In 2021, when the campaign launched in the US, Oatly angered the general public when it ran an unconventional, (reads utterly bizarre) Wow No Cow song sung by chief executive officer, Toni Petersson, as an ad during the Super Bowl, leading to people wearing “I totally hated that Oatly commercial” t-shirts. Of course, the stunt did make the name, Oatly, and the product become known globally faster. Bad news travels at breakneck speed through social media.
“Controversial or not, the statement is true – our oat milk is indeed intended for humans. Plus, based on our research, we found that New Zealand is home to very few Swedish dairy lobbyists, so we think the campaign will be well-received,” Oatly’s creative director, Kevin Lynch, commented. It does, thuogh, have a contingency ploan in case it’s not. (Keep reading).
The launch is supported by a digital media buy campaign across social media (YouTube, Instagram and Facebook). In classic Oatly fashion, consumers can also expect to see the campaign run across OOH via billboards and street posters in Auckland and Wellington city centres from now through July 3 2022. It’s like milk but made for humans will also be popping up in various ways in over 180 retail locations.
Oatly has also partnered with radio station 95bFM to put one of their producers through their paces as they detox from dairy for two weeks and give a daily update on their withdrawal process.
If New Zealand takes a page out of Sweden’s book and the It’s like milk, but made for humans phrase is banned, 95bFM listeners will be asked to call in with ideas on new ways to say it for the chance to win 20 free Oatly coffees at Remedy cafe. If the phrase doesn’t get banned, Oatly will give away 20 free coffees at Remedy every day for 10 days anyway. When students return to campus on July 11, 95bFM will delight them with the announcement of free coffees at one of the Auckland University cafés if they ask for coffee “with that milk that is like milk but made for humans please,” because Oatly know students love free things.
Jonny Vahry, 95bFM Drive host, commented, “95bFM and Oatly is a match made in heaven. New Zealand’s oldest independent broadcaster, over the past fifty years we’ve developed a bit of a reputation as dyed-in-the-wool tree-hugging pinko liberals – and it’s all true. We’re super excited to see a great, environmentally friendly alternative to cow’s milk on the market here in NZ.”
Since students shouldn’t have all the fun, July 2-3 2022, Oatly will give away sample cappoatccinos and oat lattes in select cafes across Auckland and Wellington to anyone who asks for “that milk that’s made for humans” at the till. Find the list of participating cafes via the Oatfinder here.