Oatly: The New Coke

Misinformation/confusion is the key to many of our largest advertising campaigns.

Tobacco did it successfully for decades. Sugar has been doing it for over half a century.

The playbook, outlined in detail in Merchants of Doubt, is very simple: 


Obscure the Truth: Make vague health claims that aren’t falsifiable. “Give your throat a vacation… smoke a fresh cigarette” sounds like they’re saying “this is definitely healthy,” but they’ve really said nothing.

Create Confusion: Fund massive amounts of research papers showing the harmful ingredients are healthy, or at least not provably harmful. Then cherry-pick or p-hack research into meta-analyses that support your industry. The sugar industry did this throughout the 1950s-1970s to point the finger at fat and cholesterol. The tobacco industry did this extensively as well.

Strawman the Disagreements: When people criticize the ingredients or health claims, strawman their arguments by focusing on the most easily dismissed criticisms, or by pointing the finger elsewhere. Sugar convinced people dietary fat was a bigger problem, or that not enough exercise was the culprit for obesity. 


This is really good read, and not too long. Get to it.