For three years, I was creative director for one of the world’s most distinctive brands. Which is a weird thing to say about an oat milk. Based in Malmö, Sweden, the Oatly Department of Mind Control and I created work across the globe that ignored trends, defied expectations, and earned far more fame than an oat milk company ever could have afforded. 

Spam by Oatly

The Spam by Oatly newsletter perfectly encapsulated the unique voice of the brand, all while endearing ourselves to our biggest fans. It twisted traditional brand newsletter content into almost unrecognizable forms. And if that wasn’t memorable enough, we then created a global campaign to promote the launch.

Never underestimate the connection you can make when you acknowledge something the audience is already thinking.
Truth be told, Spam by Oatly actually was one of the best things in life. But you can’t just, like, go out and say that.
You’re right, it would’ve been funnier if we bought more banners to continue the conversation. You should’ve mentioned this earlier.
Am I the only one who sometimes signs up for email lists just to feel more popular? Hello? Am I on mute?
To us, the fact that no one ever demanded a refund speaks well of the quality of our free newsletter.
The board next to it read, “Besides the one to the left, have you ever seen such a big ad about an oat drink newsletter?” Really, it did.
Can’t believe we managed to squeeze this one by legal.
See the sign flipper at the top? We took him across Europe with us because, apparently, good sign flippers are hard to find.
People ask how many subscribers we got. We explain it was a brand awareness campaign. They say, “Great. How many subscribers?”
When you buy billboards too close to each other, there’s bound to be tension.

Ad in an Ad in an…

Oatly will often take photos of their ads in one medium (say, billboards) and repurpose those photos as content in another medium (say, social media). With that approach suffering from wear out, we wondered what would happen if we just kept the chain reaction going. And because it’s Oatly, no one stopped us from finding out

I have to admit, I underestimated the acting ability of my coworkers.

General Outdoor

If your brand’s ambition is to change the world’s food habits, your visibility needs to be part of the public sphere. Being dominant in out of home – a place where everyone sees the message – helps normalize the topic. Outdoor also helps if you’re, say, a fledging oat milk company from the south of Sweden and you want to appear bigger than you are. 

If people would just do a better job of remembering the oat milk ads they see, we wouldn’t have this problem.
At Oatly, we’re dedicated to delivering personalized content, in real time. 
If you think about it, just about anything can be an oat milk ad if you want it to be. No, it’s true. We thought about it.
The power of suggestion.
We often point out that our oat milk ads are oat milk ads because the way we figure, people are bound to find out eventually.
This ad was not written by The Wrong Agency but we can see why you’d think that.
We don’t mean to pat ourselves on the back – especially in a humble place like The Netherlands – but, like, every… single… bus…
Marketers are drowning in too much data. Still, it would’ve been nice to know the percentage of drivers who sped up to pass this bus.
Every once in a while, we follow the advice of the experts – just to throw people off.
If an ad whose headline ends with “blub blub blub blub blub” isn’t the perfect way to finish this section, we don’t know what is.


Berlinale, one of Europe’s “Big Three” film festival, partnered with Oatly to make their event dairy–free for the first time. We became an official sponsor, threw some parties, served some coffee, and asked people if they noticed that milk was missing and exactly zero people said they did. A fact we found considerably funnier than the festival’s films.

It’s better with the sound on. We assume it’s even better with cinema–quality surround sound, but have never tested it.
Proof we really did ask people if they missed milk. Also, proof they didn’t.
Not shown: The usual activations, influencer collabs, and a surprisingly large amount of press coverage.

Longest Billboard

The good news: Oatly was finally launching in coffee–mad and sustainability–minded New Zealand. The bad news: Our budget was so small, we could only afford a single billboard. Fortunately, we were able to tell people all the things they needed to know about Oatly by fitting 523 words of copy onto the billboard. Disaster averted.

People took photos of the billboard and posted them online to make it more readable.
Truth be told, one billboard wasn’t enough. We had to shift budget (sorry, Australia) so we could buy a second billboard.
The second billboard shared a cafe location where people could get a free oat coffee just for playing along.
If that seems like a lot of work for a free coffee to you, it does to us too. But sure enough, our cafe partner reported lines out the door.

Wall Street Station

We’re not here to blame anyone for the fact that we ended up with a train station full of media space during the holidays when everyone in New York was out of town. But if we did want to blame someone, we would probably point the finger at Sarah, who heads up the media department. Yeah, Sarah is definitely the one who comes to mind.

We ran a station full of ads the first week of the media buy…
and once everyone returned, we ran ads letting everyone know what ads they missed.
We try to include Mårten’s email in every major campaign.
You should totally write him. He’ll probably reply.
This is the station where all of the New Yorkers would be if they weren’t on holiday.
Thanks a lot, Sarah.

SCA Protest

The Specialty Coffee Association (SCA) runs the top barista competitions worldwide. Inexplicably, their rules stated as recently as 2022 that coffee drinks made for competitions were required to use cow’s milk. They’d been promising to update the rule for years. A few timely, SCA–tagged memes from Oatly helped them keep their promise.

The memes were part of an advocacy campaign timed around a big SCA barista competition. 
The memes were shared broadly amongst the influential barista community.
The SCA was… oh, what’s the word we’re looking for? Let’s go with “not happy.”
Soon after, the SCA decided to update their rules and allow plant–based milks in their barista competition.
They said it was NOT because of our campaign and we said, “Hey, the reason doesn’t matter… you made the right decision.”
(It was totally because of our campaign.)


I’ve long believed there’s no such thing as mass media; that a good communication speaks to a person, not a mass. Here’s a campaign based on that belief. Not shown is the poster targeting acrobats. The media company didn’t understand it needed to be hung upside down.

For this, we discovered Morse Code is surprisingly easy to write.
Our lawyer wants writing credit for his contribution to the one with the asterisks.
We really thought “our like hope ad you drink oat” would become the world’s next big catchphrase.


SPOILER ALERT: The first TikTok is about Samantha meeting a man named Darryl at the waterslide. The second one is about Darryl loving Samantha so much, he’s willing to drink her bathwater. The third one is not Oatly’s best work, but it boosted Oatly’s follower count from 2400 to over 625,000. We’re not weird. TikTok is.

Having a five–minute video perform well on TikTok is surprising. Especially one as nonsensical as this.
Could a nine–minute video actually outperform the original five-minute video? The data says yes. 
This video earned 200 million views before the paid media campaign even started. Like I said, TickTok’s weird.

Sibling Series

This series of posters was inspired by four siblings, a wood–paneled station wagon, and two parents who believed long road trips to Wisconsin Dells would be a great opportunity for us to bond as a family. 

The original intention was to give each flavor of Oatly a distinctive personality.
The chocolate one was easy – it should be like an irritating younger sibling.
The other flavors didn’t lend themselves to such clear, logical personas.
We said, “Let’s think about it over lunch.” That’s the last time the idea was discussed.

Nuit Blanche

At Paris’ annual Nuit Blanche all–night arts festival, the streets are filled with stages and art exhibits take over the city squares. Considering the people who attend, it’s natural for Oatly to be an official sponsor so… oh wait, we didn’t sponsor it? Oh… Well then, bring on the illegal building projections, stencil art, and sandwich boards.

Rethink Breakfast

If people are going to change their behavior, they’re going to do so step by step. So instead of asking people to become climate change warriors, we asked people to become part time climate change warriors – to be 100% committed 10% of the time – by switching out dairy for plant–based at breakfast.

Cafe patrons who switched their orders from dairy to plant–based earned a free patch to make sure everyone knew of their good deed.
If you were better at internetting than at cafe–ing, you could also go online and pledge to be a part–time climate change warrior.

Transit Ads

“The outdoor campaign looks great,” our coworkers said, “But can’t we take advantage of the fact that they’re digital boards?”

“They’re Oatly ads,” we replied. “Oatly ads don’t move.”

“We’re sure you’ll think of something.”