Commercials for Super Bowl LV went for about $5.5 million for a 30-second spot during the game. Some commercials relied on nostalgia, weird references, or strange celebrity cameos. But Oatly, a Swedish company that makes dairy projects using oats, decided instead to just go for odd, as their quick commercial featured Oatly’s CEO Toni Petersson singing a jingle in an oat field. While many have called this one of the worst commercials of the Super Bowl, it seems as though the company already knew their ad was terrible.
Oatly was so confident that people would dislike their commercial, they already have t-shirts that say “I Totally Hated That Oatly Commercial” on them, which includes an illustrated version of Petersson. These shirts are already sold out, and were being given away for free. A description of the shirt says that while they can’t give the Super Bowl audience back their 30 seconds, they can give people a free t-shirt that lets people know what they thought of the commercial.
While it may seem like Oatly made this bad commercial as a way to entice viewers with the company’s strange advertising practices, Oatly already has a controversial past with this ad. In fact, this ad was originally shot in 2014. This commercial aired almost seven years ago in Sweden, but the Swedish dairy lobby actually sued the company for its “wow no cow” message. The 60-second version of the ad was banned in Sweden, but now, Oatly is apparently hoping this unusual ad will be more successful in the United States.
In case you couldn’t tell, this is Oatly’s first Super Bowl commercial, and while the ad is certainly unconventional, it at least has got people talking about it. While most companies are shelling out tons of cash for not only the ad space, but for the commercials themselves, Oatly’s no-frills ad cost almost nothing. The video was shot over only a few days in Sweden, and as John Schoolcraft, the chief creative officer for Oatly says, the ad “cost a fraction of what the catering budget is for almost every other spot in the Super Bowl.” Super Bowl ads are all about getting your project talked about, and in that aspect, Oatly succeeded with their first Super Bowl ad.
If anything, weird is probably more effective when it comes to Super Bowl ads than most other tactics. In addition to Oatly’s unconventional commercial, this year also saw strange choices like Amy Schumer as the mayonnaise fairy, four miniature Maya Rudolph’s on tiny horses, and John Cena asking audiences to count the amount of Mountain Dew bottles in his advertisement. If an ad is forgettable, all those millions spent were for nothing. But putting your CEO in a field to sing his earnest little oat milk song? Hey, you just read an entire article about that, didn’t you?
While this Oatly ad has been around for the better part of a decade now, it will be interesting to see if this causes a spike in Oatly’s product sales, or if it just becomes one of those oddities that are becoming more and more prevalent in Super Bowl commercials.