Oatly is a plant-based milk company that began in the countryside of southern Sweden. Founded in the 1990s, the company grew out of home-grown Swedish research from Lund University, and uses patented enzyme technology to emulate the way the human body breaks down grains. Its initial packaging ideas conformed to the typically clinical, health-food cleanliness aesthetics and product benefits of the nascent category. In short, it didn’t stand out at all. In the early 2010s, that would all change.
In 2012, the company appointed Toni Petersson as CEO. A thoughtful kind of guy, Petersson is prone to asking existential questions like “why do we exist?” It’s a creative outlook.
His first hire after taking up the job was John Schoolcraft, formerly of DDB Denmark, as Global Chief Creative Officer. At the time, the company was selling only in Sweden, where traditional cow’s milk reigned supreme. At Cannes Lions 2019, Schoolcraft explained what he and his CEO did to make a difference. They created a Change document, somewhat similar to those that companies include in an IPO document.