Swedish plant-based milk brand, Oatly, has a history of wonderfully provocative OOH advertising, created by its in-house team, the Oatly Department of Mind Control, which is led by creative director, Michael Lee. Now it has taken its bold attitude, wry humour and inventive ideas onto TV and VOD. This Veganuary, the brand is encouraging middle-aged UK men to give up drinking dairy milk with a humorous shame campaign, Help-Dad. In each commercial, a dad’s child chastises him (in hilariously typical teen ways) which suggest that his milk drinking aligns with other “unacceptable” behaviours (or addictions).
Each ad ends with a card reading, Need help talking to dad about milk? and a link to Oatly’s campaign website, Help-Dad.com, A Guide To Help Dads Quit Dairy
As might have been expected, there was a rapid backlash. A number of viewers reacted angrily to what they saw as mockery of real conversations between people with dealing with addiction issues.
The Oatly team responded with the comment, “Our aim with this ad is to show a familiar situation that anyone who’s been a teenager can relate to but with the roles reversed. After all, when it comes to the climate and our diets relation to it, it’s often teenagers that are the grownups in the conversation. We don’t believe that by using these father-teenager situations we are undermining the importance of such a serious issue like alcoholism.”
The new campaign launched in Scandinavia a month before it made its UK debut on ITV during the Voice UK, with two back-to-back commercials and is being supported with social media activity, including ads on Spotify and Twitch, and double-page spreads across UK press.
Behind the campaign idea is an Ipsos survey commissioned by Oatly, which found that middle-aged men are the least likely demographic within society to adopt a plant-based lifestyle.
The campaign website houses statistics and tips, which children can use to chat with older generations about the impact of animal-based products on the environment. The website also includes recipes for classic dad meals (bangers and mash with onion gravy, beef stroganoff and spaghetti Bolognese, for example) that aim to make the transition from dairy to Oatly easier.
Oatly has also partnered The Guardian to create three supplements tackling topics with the climate’s needs at their foundation, one of which is a 24-page Guide to parenting your parents.