UK Advertising WatchDog Bans Oatly Ads Over Misleading Green Claims

UK Advertising WatchDog Bans Oatly Ads Over Misleading Green Claims
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a campaign by Swedish alt-milk brand Oatly has been banned by The UK Advertising watchdog ASA – after it found it’s green claims were – misleading.

The ads were first published in January 2021 and used the slogan, “Need help talking to dad about milk?”

The campaign compared the carbon footprint between dairy milk and Oatly’s milk. Guess who won? – Oatly’s milk!

Basically, Oatley’s ads claimed drinking alternative milk meant that a person would have less of an environmental impact. The catch? well, the watchdog has found these claims haven’t been correctly verified. 
The now infamous advertisement showed a man putting a bottle of full cream milk on his fridge – only to be caught out by his disapproving son, who says, “What have we here?”
Text on the screen then appears that reads:  “Oatly generates 73% less CO2e vs. milk, calculated from grower to grocer.”

 

However, the ASA found the ad to be misleading because it claimed that consumers would assume Oatly was making a statement about all of it’s products, not just one.

After 109 separate complaints were made,  ASA outlined the five issues that people had flagged could be misleading.

  • 1. “Oatly generates 73% less CO2e vs. milk” in ads (a) and (b);
  • 2. “The dairy and meat industries emit more CO2e than all the world’s planes, trains, cars, boats etc., combined” in ads (c) and (d);
  • 3. “Today, more than 25% of the world’s greenhouse gases are generated by the food industry, and meat and dairy account for more than half of that” in ad (e);
  • 4. “Climate experts say cutting dairy and meat products from our diets is the single biggest lifestyle change we can make to reduce our environmental impact” in ad (f); and
  • 5. “If everyone in the world adopted a vegan diet, it would reduce food’s annual greenhouse emissions by 6.6bn metric tons (a 49% reduction)” in ad (f).

Oatly was unable to provide the appropriate evidence to substantiate it’s claims and 4/5 claims were upheld.

ASA ruled that the ads must not appear again in the forms complained about.

Oatly spokesperson, Tim Knight told the BBC,  “It’s clear that we could have been more specific in the way we described some of the scientific data.

“We’re a science-based company and take pride in being precise, but we could have been clearer.”

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