Oatly switches up marketing strategy with puppet-fronted YouTube series

Puppets Norm and Al front Oatly’s new YouTube series

Famed for its in-your-face billboards, Oatly is taking a different approach with its latest marketing effort.

Swedish oat milk producer Oatly is to run a five-part series on YouTube fronted by two cartoon puppets, Norm and Al.

Each episode of The New Norm&Al Show will be between two and five minutes long and aims to spark a nationwide conversation about how eating a plant-based diet is a normal choice.

“After trying to help people eat more plant-based with super long Instagram posts, dorky Superbowl ads, nonsensical headlines and picking on dads in the UK, we’ve now landed on puppets to do the job,” said Oatly’s creative director Michael Lee.

“The cool thing about The New Norm&Al Show is that it lets us deliver a message that people might normally roll their eyes at, but because it’s puppets, well, who doesn’t like puppets? Despite that last sentence, Norm & Al are really just about adding some fuzzy felt, wobbly arms and flappy heads with well-styled wigs to the plant-based movement, and if that all makes it easier for society to grab on to, then yeah, these puppets will be a total success.”

The work was developed in-house through Oatly’s own agency – dubbed the ‘Oatly Department of Mind Control’ – in collaboration with Bafta-winning production company Nexus Studios and director Conor Finnegan.

Meanwhile, the brand drafted in puppet-maker Andy Gent, who is best known for Wes Anderson’s stop motion feature Isle of Dogs, to create the characters.

It’s the biggest campaign to date for the brand. It been supported by media across broadcast, programmatic VOD, display ads and social, in addition to extensive sampling activity in key spots across the country.

Not completely abandoning its favorite medium, the campaign will also run across out-of-home (OOH) sites in London, Bristol, Manchester and Glasgow until the end of January, as well as on thousands of buses.

Oatly also partnered with The Guardian across print, display and audio channels. There will be an Observer magazine cover wrap and advertorials, plus display takeovers, sliding doors and audio 30-second podcast ads.

The campaign is also planned to launch across Europe over the next few weeks in markets including Germany, Austria, Switzerland, Sweden, Finland and the Netherlands, as well as Australia.