Changing How People Think of Milk

The story of a fearless brand that shifted the entire milk industry

Once upon a time, there was a small Swedish manufacturer of oat-based foods and drinks. The brief was simple: Find new ways to grow. This is what happened. 

We started by shifting the approach to oat-based products from being a niche segment for people with allergies to a lifestyle choice for a conscious generation. We rebuilt Oatly into a rebellious brand ready to take on the world with a clear point of view and a bold attitude.  

We went from being a drink for people who can’t drink cows milk to a drink for people who don’t want to drink cows milk.

That type of strategy opens a whole new, and much bigger, market. But since milk is a low-consideration, low-engagement category, and since Oatly’s media budget was limited (to put it mildly) we had to find new ways to create attention. If we were going to show up alongside traditional milk, we needed our packaging to stand out so much that it became an irresistible invitation for people to learn more. ​We decided to treat the packaging as our main media channel. Think of it more as a poster. Or an ad. 

The unpredictable design combined with provocative thoughts such as “Wow, no cow” and “It’s like milk, but made for humans” turned out successful. The only ones not bursting with joy? The traditional milk industry. They even tried to stop Oatly’s messaging, with the sole result being that the public started to see the milk industry as an oversized bully.

Former CEO Toni Petersson, spreading the word

The success of our new positioning unlocked an opportunity for expansion. As the brand rolled out globally, it was crucial to maintain a sense of personality – and that the brand showed up in places where it would be noticed. We went all-in on OOH for the global rollout. We worked closely with media partners to make sure that every placement was unique and had a contextually relevant message that brought our personality to life.

​As markets scaled and budgets increased, we moved into film in our owned channels and – when appropriate – massive TV buys. Like this Super Bowl ad of the (now former) Oatly CEO Toni Petersson playing keyboard and singing a song he wrote, in the middle of an oat field.

Most recently, as the category has taken off, we’ve helped Oatly stay true to its positioning and revolutionary spirit by finding interesting, meaningful, people-first ways to help them leverage their iconic brand. Oat milk is taking over the world and people are giving up milk in record numbers. It’s almost impossible to buy a latte these days without specifying what milk should go in it. And it all started with a small Swedish brand deciding to take a leap from the food allergy section to challenging the entire milk industry. The rest is history.  


Since we began working with Oatly, we’ve seen a 700% increase in demand – which has been hard for them to keep up with – along with a growth rate (CAGR) of 21% per year, even as the competition heats up. Oatly is a long-term transformation story built on partnership and commitment to an ideal as much as an idea. ​ 

Campaign summary

Oatly remains a perfect case of how branding, design and communications can shift global norms and culture.