Forget celebrity appearances from John Travolta, Cardi B and Ashton Kutcher in Super Bowl commercials – oat milk brand Oatly’s spot featuring their CEO singing in a field has been the one to go viral after being dubbed the worst ad.
The 30-second commercial from the Swedish vegan milk brand features its CEO Toni Petersson standing in a field with a keyboard singing an oddly catchy tune, including the lines, “It’s like milk, but made for humans,” and “Wow, no cow”.
He also wears a T-shirt which the words, “No artificial badness,” written on it.
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It’s reported a 30-second spot cost around $US5.5 million ($A7.1 million) for this year’s Super Bowl, so Oatly certainly saved on production costs. In fact, the ad was previously run in Sweden in 2014 and already has a colourful history having been banned in the country after a legal challenge by the dairy industry.
“It cost a fraction of what the catering budget is for almost every other spot in the Super Bowl,” Oatly’s chief creative officer John Schoolcraft told AdAge.
The ad was slammed by some social media users, with many saying it turned them off ever buying the oat milk.
“Well I used to drink @oatly, but time to switch brands,” wrote one man.
“The Oatly commercial is the first one I’ve seen that could have been a Zoom call,” another user said.
But some users also found the fun in the ad.
“I’m still laughing at this Oatly ad. I can’t believe they decided to show THIS for Super Bowl ad,” wrote one user.
“I loved the @oatly commercial. Apparently I’m in the minority – thought it was hilarious! After the initial what in the world … I laughed and am still singing it,” one woman said.
But Oatly may have had the last laugh when it bragged the ad was part of a genius plan.
“If you just watched our CEO sing in an oat field on the big game, we can’t give you back those 30 seconds but we can give you a free T-shirt that lets the world know where you stand on our attempt to promote Toni’s singing skills to a wider audience,” it said in the tongue-in-cheek post.
The limited batch of 500 T-shirts promoted on Twitter, which read, “I totally hated that Oatly commercial,” have sold out already.
Oatly is considering floating on the US stock market in May and is seeking to achieve a valuation of $US10 billion ($A13 billion). It’s currently valued at $US2 billion ($A2.6 billion).
Mr Petersson has previously admitted that Oatly is not an easy company to work with.
“We are unconventional,” he told CEO Magazine in 2019. “Things are changing here every day and if you want to work with us you need to have that drive and desperation to go out and make a difference every single day.”
Meanwhile, Reddit spent its entire marketing budget on a five-second Super Bowl ad, which ran across select states. The company has been hitting the headlines after the GameStop share market frenzy.
“Big game spots are expensive, so we couldn’t buy a full one,” the company said in a blogpost.
The blink-and-you-miss-it ad became one of the most talked about on the day.
It started out with two cars racing across the desert, before the ad seemed to short circuit, and a lengthy printed statement came up on screen that left viewers scrambling to take a photo so they could read it.
“Five-second Reddit Super Bowl ad. No audio other than some static. Very clever,” wrote one Twitter user.
“Just saw @reddit do a five-second Super Bowl ad with just text. In a world where you can pause your TV, it was clever. Of course we paused and Reddit (yes, I went there),” said another man.
The ad was created by New York marketing agency R/GA and its head of media and connections Ellie Bamford said it was designed to make history.
“Squeezing an entire page of text into one of the shortest ads in Super Bowl history might seem weird, but it was certainly weird in the right way,” she told The New York Times.
“We knew we had to break the traditional ad model for Super Bowl with something disruptive, simple and fun.”