Editor’s Letter: It Takes More Creativity Than Ever for a Brand to Break Through

Take oat milk, for example

Headshot of Stephanie Paterik, executive editor of Adweek
Stephanie Paterik, executive editor
Trent Joaquin

I was a teenager when celebrities like Tyra Banks, Dennis Rodman and the cast of Friends started posing with milk mustaches in print ads and the tagline “Got Milk?” became a cultural catchphrase. Two decades later, that glossy Goodby Silverstein & Partners campaign is retired, but I still associate milk with greatness. And I didn’t go a day without splashing it in my coffee until recently.

A new product made its way onto my grocery list last winter.

Oatly caught my attention when the barista at my Brooklyn coffee shop set a carton of it on the counter beside my piping hot Americano and nodded a silent but unmistakable endorsement. Next, it popped up on my go-to food-delivery app, and the carton’s funky font and design hooked me. Now oat milk is a staple in my family’s diet.

None of that happened by accident, as our senior editor Robert Klara found out when he spoke with the Swedish brand about its U.S. invasion. Rather than employing a CMO and releasing a national, star-studded campaign, the company relied on shoe-leather sales tactics to get its footing.

It takes the perfect combination of strategy and creativity to push a shopper like me to add oat milk—or flavored seltzer, coconut water, Greek yogurt, kale, ginger shots, cold brew, overnight oats, chia pudding, orange wine (with apologies to rosé) or any other food darling that bubbles up out of nowhere a savvy marketing plan—to my grocery cart.

Oatly’s success story leads off our fourth issue of Brandweek, a quarterly magazine published by Adweek, and I’m honored it’s made its way into your hands. Timed to the Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity, this issue is dedicated to the creative ways companies are breaking through the clutter and thriving at a time when customers’ choices and knowledge seem limitless.

A Year of Brandweek: Since reviving the title in 2018, we’ve charted the breakthroughs, successes and necessary evolutions of brands like Away, Nat Geo, Casper and more. It’s been a creative journey, made beautiful by cd Ron Goodman.

You’ll read about how the lab-grown-diamond business is turning its greatest weakness into a selling point, how ad-tech companies are maximizing their money in Cannes and why it’s never been a better time to be a woman creative. We hope you’ll find inspiration in these stories and at our events in Cannes this week. We’re gathering top CMOs, industry executives and 10 members of our editorial staff on La Croisette to share how they’re applying creative thinking to everything they do.

Santé,
Stephanie Paterik
Executive Editor

This story first appeared in the June 17, 2019, issue of Brandweek.

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