Toni Petersson has been CEO of arguably the UK’s most popular vegan milk alternative brand, Oatly, for over six years. Much of Oatly’s growth as a brand has to do with their casual clever marketing which ironically adopts many an anti-marketing tactic.
What exactly is anti-marketing? Well Petersson focused on hiring a team of creatives to focus on exactly that; being creative. He even fired his entire original marketing team to make this 180 decision. By working solely with a team of creatives, the brand was able to focus on attention creation i.e “creating with the idea of getting as much attention as possible”.
A great example of this anti-marketing attention creation technique are Oatly’s tongue-in-cheek billboards. One reads; “We spent an insane amount of money on this fancy billboard” with a subtitle stating “hope someone interested in oat drink reads it”.
During this time, the company motto was “to creative without fear” and also avoided pushing the ‘plant-based’ identity which had many sceptics at the time. This is smart. Oatly just markets itself as a product for anyone. Vegans and dairy-free consumers will appreciate its plant-based nature but meat eaters and flexitarians who enjoy an oat latte will also purchase the product for its taste. Oatly’s marketing doesn’t alienate or single out any of these markets – it just works on being themself.
They even self-created a website entitled FuckOatly.com which literally archives complaints about the company. Why does such self-deprecation work? Simply, it’s relatable and goes back to Attention Creating; it literally draws so much attention to them.
The oat latte is to Gen Z what the avocado toast was to Millenials. Its no wonder Oatly has become a huge brand name to our generation; in a world of brands aiming to paint themselves as perfect, Oatly is the relatable rebel thanks to its anti-marketing. Consumers appreciate such transparency of a brand’s faults.
The company is currently worth $700 million.
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