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Brilliant brand development


“This tastes like sh*t! Blah!” One of the more controversial headlines on a pack of Oatly, but typifies the single-minded, transparent, consistent, confident copy that adorns each pack of Oatly.

Oatly is an alternative ‘milk’ made from oats. It was developed as a response to lactose intolerance. A number of cereals were tested as the base for the product but oats were found to have a wealth of good properties, a mild taste and a nutritional composition that matches human requirements: protein, fat and carbohydrates. It can be used in all the ways cow’s milk can: as a drink, with breakfast cereals, an ingredient for ice cream, yoghurt, and cheese. So, it’s good for you, made from a natural, abundant raw material, is environmentally friendly, tastes good and is versatile.

The brand was launched in 2001. The pack design was conventional, highlighting the fact that it is an alternative to milk, in a brick tetra-pak structure. It was relaunched in the UK in 2006 with the striking and consumer-friendly pack design and structure you see today. It was positioned as a serious product but with a light-hearted, fun communication style. The product’s raison d’etre (don’t have to use the circumflex any more!!) is emphasised by splitting the word Oatly so that you read the word ‘Oat’ first. The graphic style is loose and fun on ‘earthy’ background colours. The pack copy uses an old typewriter font complementing the quirky text. The same font and writing style is carried through onto the website and advertising.

The brand’s positioning is cleverly communicated by a simple graphic (see above). It says Oatly doesn’t need the highly inefficient, allergen-providing cow, it can be produced directly from oats.

The relaunch was highly successful. The new positioning and packaging had an instant positive impact, propelling the brand from niche to mainstream status.


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