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The Advertising Standards Authority, (ASA) has upheld four out five Questions Investigated in connection to complaints about Oatly ads in Jan last year.
ASA received 109 complaints regarding the environmental claims made by Oatlys 2021 ad.
A Greener World, an organization that promotes sustainable agricultural solutions, also complained about Oatlys advertisements. Oatly claimed that milk was safe and healthy in a number press releases, social media posts, and TV ads.
Insufficient evidence for environmental claims
The ads compared Oatlys milk’s carbon footprint with that of dairy milk, and also compared vegan diets to those of omnivores. The ASA ruled that the ads claim are not supported by enough evidence.
One of the TV ads that was subject to complaint, broadcast January 21st, featured a man sneaking in his home and placing a bottle traditional milk in the fridge.
His son interrupted him and questioned his decision to use milk. A text message appeared on the screen saying: Oatly produces 73 percent less carbon dioxide than milk. This is calculated from grower-grocer.
The ASA stated that the ad was misleading since Oatly based the claim upon comparing Oatly Barista Edition with full-cream milk. They claimed that consumers would be able to understand the claim to include all Oatly products.
A few days later, a related tweet included the caption: The milk and meat industries emit more carbon dioxide than all of the world’s planes, trains cars, boats, and cars combined.
The ASA stated that consumers would understand that this meant that transport had a lower impact on the environment than the meat and dairy industries. They claimed that the claim overstated emissions from meat and dairy industries compared to those from the transport industry.
According to ASA, Oatly was not comparable in terms of the lifecycles of transport and agriculture.
ASA also investigated a third issue, which was a national newspaper ad. Oatly stated in the ad: Today, more that 25 percent of the world’s greenhouse gases are generated by food industry. Meat and dairy account more than half of this.
The ASA stated that this claim was misleading because Oatly considered meat and dairy to include fish, eggs, and milk. Consumers might assume that it meant a narrower definition.
Oatlys also claims that: Climate experts claim that cutting dairy and meat products out of our diets is one of the most important lifestyle changes we can make in order to reduce our environmental footprint.
This was found to be exaggerated and the ASA declared the claim misleading.
ASA rejected complaints about a fifth claim. It stated: If everyone around the world adopted veganism, it would reduce annual greenhouse gas emissions by 6.6bn metric tonnes (a 49 per cent reduction). This was confirmed by the Institute for Climate Economics report.
The company is well-known because of its outspoken marketing approach. Ads often refer to the negative health and environmental effects of animal products.
Alt-milk also uses unusual TV ads. Subliminal messaging and hypnotic spirals were used to keep the brand’s oat drinks fresh in consumers’ minds.
Oatlys’ recent advertising focus has been on a mini-series called The New Norm&al Show. This cartoon features puppets from the oat-drink-cart carton who attempt to switch to a plant based diet.