Oatly takes on European Parliament with ‘Are you stupid?’ campaign

Short films mock potential European restrictions on Oatly's pack designs.

Oatly is going head to head with the European Parliament with a tongue-in-cheek digital campaign intended to head off potential regulatory restrictions on the packaging of plant-based products.

Created by the Oatly Department of Mind Control (Oatly’s in-house creative team), “Are you stupid” features members of the public as they attempt to distinguish which products are dairy-based based solely on their packaging.

“It turns out, people are not stupid,” the ad declares as consumers correctly guess which products contain dairy.

It ends by directing viewers to a petition to challenge the European Parliament’s response to amendment 171, which Oatly claims could ban phrases including “dairy free” or ”creamy” from plant-based drinks for being “misleading”.

Another ad shows consumers trying to serve Oatly from alternative packaging such as paint tins, bleach bottles and antibacterial spray bottles in a bid to prove that “just because it looks like milk packaging” it doesn’t mean that Oatly is trying to mislead milk drinkers.

The digital campaign is accompanied by physical sampling of Oatly in "post-AM 171" packaging and online "Are you stupid" tests, which challenge consumers to test their ability to distinguish between dairy and plant-based products.

The campaign was created by in-house creative director Michael Lee.

“It’s one thing for us at Oatly to know the impact AM 171 can potentially have on people trying to choose plant-based foods, but we wanted to speak directly to the people who will be affected by this – ordinary people – to understand whether AM 171 is actually in their best interest,” Tobias Nordström, head of planning at Oatly, said.

“It was clear consumers already understand the difference between plant-based and dairy products, and that the restrictions AM 171 threatens to impose will actually make consumer choice more complicated."  

Nordström added: “It’s quite absurd to us, as the Farm to Fork strategy’s mission of increasing plant-based consumption will be heavily compromised should this amendment be passed”. 

Last month, Oatly launched a campaign encouraging middle-aged men “in need of some veggification” to give up dairy milk.

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