Provoking Change Through Advertisement

The production of animal sourced consumer goods has the biggest impact on the environment today (Nemecek & Poore, 2018). Still, we see a constant flow of banners and advertisements for meat and other biproducts from animals, even though we know that it leaves a big environmental footprint on our planet. Why aren’t these products exchanged with plant-based products, and why does it seem like people get provoked when they are?

After a lot of research, it is documented that veganism, a plant-based lifestyle, will have nothing other than a posi­tive impact on our environment (Nemecek & Poore, 2018).

To change our diet is seen as a necessity to relieve the world from the enormous impact of meat- and dairy production. Avoiding meat and dairy will contribute far more than cutting down flights and cars (Carrington, 2018).

The problem is that not everyone follows this kind of news, and selectively do not seek these facts. ­Maybe ­because they don’t want to recognize what they are ­contributing too, or maybe because they just don’t hear about it. There are now several documentaries talking about the environmental issues, health issues and ­ethical issues that come with the enormous consumption of animal products. Movies like Cowspiracy and Before the Flood have made a lot more people aware, but there are many that live in the dark.

I believe that the problem is that we don’t see these things enough around us on an everyday basis. The amount of advertising for plant-based products comes down to a minimum compared to animal products, even though it ­seems to be a growth of vegan products in stores. A big issue and reason for this, is that the meat and dairy industry in several countries gets a lot of support and subsidies from the state, which makes it harder to promote a plant-based diet. What can a designer do to make people more aware and make better choices for the wellbeing of our planet, our health and the animals?

Recently, the Swedish company Oatly came out with an ad that was both moving and provoking. Oatly makes a range of plant-based products, and their main purpose is making healthy products without leaving a huge impact on the planets resources, and without harming animals (Oatly AB, u.d.). The ad that was so provoking, was a banner with their oat drink and written next to it the text “It’s like milk but made for humans” in big, bold letters. They directly point at the fact that their oat drink is made for humans, while cow milk is made for calves, just like human breast milk is made for infants. People are so distant from what they are buying–milk is just milk, sausage is just ­sausage–when it’s really breastmilk for cows, and intestines and meat mashed together into a shape.

Oatly’s ad resulted in a lawsuit from the dairy ­industry in Sweden (Faull, 2018), which in many ways can be seen as a positive reaction. The dairy industry must then see the ad as a threat, and probably realizes that the ad can make the consumers choose a plant-based alternative rather than the animal-based product. It may just be this kind of advertising that will help the world towards a more sustain­able diet. Honest, provocative, flashy and big, makes people look and think more about what they are consuming and contributing to. If the meat and dairy advertisements were more honest, there would probably be a lot more people choosing plant-based products.


  1. Carrington, D. (2018) Avoiding meat and dairy is the single biggest way to reduce your impact on earth [Internet] environment/2018/may/31/avoiding-meat-anddairy- is-single-biggest-way-to-reduce-your-impact- on-earth [Read 18. October 2018].
  2. Faull, J. (2018) After angering swedish dairy industry oatly brings controversial ad campaign to the uk [Internet] news/2018/10/17/after-angering-swedish-dairy- industry-oatly-brings-controversial-ad-campaign- the-uk [Read 18. October 2018].
  3. Nemecek & Poore. (2018) Reducing food’s environmental impacts through producers and consumers. [Internet] http://science.sciencemag. org/content/360/6392/987.full?ijkey=ffyeW- 1F0oSl6k&keytype=ref&siteid=sci [Read 18. October 2018].
  4. Oatly AB (u.d.) About oatly [Internet] [Read 18. October 2018].