A commonly held belief, there is no such thing as bad publicity, is being tested again, this time by Oatly, the vegan dairy company with the roundly criticized Super Bowl commercial.
In today’s advertising world, however, a perhaps-intentionally bad commercial can be a very good thing, too.
Spending $5 million and offering viewers its CEO, Toni Peterson, playing a keyboard and singing in a field of oats did not find the sweet spot among the masses, but Oatly is hoping that its strength and the recent publicity will help with its planned $10 billion IPO coming as soon as May.
In July, the Wall Street Journal wrote that the company was worth only $2 billion.
As far as the publicity is concerned, the company said they already sold out of “I totally hated that Oatly commercial” T-shirts.
“No choreography, music licensing, famous actors — possibly even no director. This year’s jankiest ad came from Oatly, a company that is very good at making oat milk and very bad at making commercials,” the Washington Post wrote.
In fact, most amateur critics also ripped the ad, but musician QuestLove said Oatly’s spot was a winner.
“Come to think of it @oatly won. For those who know they know. For those that don’t know….welcome aboard we kept the light on for you lol,” he tweeted. “Simple commercial inescapable song.”
The Sweden-based company has prominent investors including Oprah Winfrey, Natalie Portman, Trump donor Stephen Schwartzman, former Starbucks Corp. Chief Howard Schultz and the entertainment company founded by Jay-Z.
Bloomberg News cited sources indicating the company’s momentum has inspired further discussions regarding the size and timing of the listing on the New York Stock Exchange.
In any event, Oatly has everybody talking about the company.