‘Help us pay our lawyers’ asks Glebe Farm in ad after winning Oatly lawsuit
After winning its court battle against milk-alternative brand Oatly, family-owned Glebe Farm has taken over Victoria Station for the day with a series of billboards asking for help to “pay off our lawyers.”
Last year, the Cambridge-based oat farmers were faced with legal action from Oatly, which made claims of brand and trademark infringement. Oatly challenged that Glebe’s PureOaty product took “unfair advantage” of its brand’s positioning and accused it of trying to “pass off” its products as Oatly’s.
Glebe Farm’s billboard in London
The allegations were rejected by the judge last August.
Not only did Oatly lose its lawsuit against the brother-sister-owned farm, but it also took a hit in the court of public opinion, with consumers responding unfavorably to the Swedish drinks giant for taking on a smaller business.
According to social listening data provided to The Drum by Synthesio at the time (August 2021), 39% of the social conversations linked to Oatly following the judgment were negative. In the three months before the lawsuit, just 13% of conversations about the brand were negative.
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The disruptive digital-out-of-home (DOOH) campaign from Glebe aims to remind consumers of the win in the hopes that people will better support local farmers.
“At a time when sustainability and championing local, British brands is at an all-time high, we wanted to remind people with a playful campaign that our oat m*lk is the most sustainable oat m*lk in the UK – and travels far less ‘food miles’ to get to customers than most other brands,” said Philip Rayner, owner of Glebe Farm.
“After winning the court case against Oatly, it has made us want to be more disruptive in our campaigns. We’re known as the oat m*lk brand that beat Oatly, but we’re so much more than that. We are true, British oat m*lk. And proud of it!”
In response to the campaign, Lucy Hopkins-Parkinson, a spokesperson for Oatly, said: "Nice job on the billboards! We’re flattered by the shout-out. We can’t wait to open our UK factory in Peterborough next year where we’ll also be buying oats from British farmers, and creating around 200 new jobs. We wish our future neighbors well as we all work towards our shared goal of a more sustainable food system. See you in 2023!"