Backlash sees giant Oatly ice cream advert overlooking school in Stoke Newington removed after 36 hours

PUBLISHED: 12:35 19 November 2019 | UPDATED: 12:56 19 November 2019

The advert being erected in Stoke Newington Church Street on Sunday. Picture: @StokeyUpdates

The advert being erected in Stoke Newington Church Street on Sunday. Picture: @StokeyUpdates


A giant advert for Oatly ice cream overlooking a Stoke Newington primary school has gone off quicker than its milk after sparking a backlash from locals.

The Oatly sign was removed after 36 hours following a backlash. Picture: @StokeyUpdatesThe Oatly sign was removed after 36 hours following a backlash. Picture: @StokeyUpdates

The "mural" for ethical Swedish brand Oatly's vegan treat was painted on the wall adjacent to William Patten Primary School's playground in Church Street on Sunday morning.

Not only was it a violation of the Committee of Advertising Practice (CAP) rules regarding schools due to its fat and sugar content, but it was in a conservation area and the council deemed it illegal.

It left locals in a sour mood, and despite Oatly maintaining it followed all correct procedures, workers were seen removing it last night.

It is the second giant advert to be removed from a Hackney building in days, after a community campaign helped secure the removal, after three years, of a banner blocking the sunlight from 17 homes in Kingsland Road.

The protests began after Stoke Newington historian Amir Dotan shared photos of workers painting the advert on his @StokeyUpdates Twitter page.

The Oatly advert in Stoke Newington Church Street: Picture: @StokeyUpdatesThe Oatly advert in Stoke Newington Church Street: Picture: @StokeyUpdates

Amir, who has a child at William Patten, said: "It was great to see how people rallied.

"Some people might be very cynical and refer to this as #peakStokeNewington and argue it was a healthy product.

"But that doesn't detract from the fact the ad for a high sugar product was placed within a 100 meters of a school, which is against the advertisement regulations, and without the proper approval from the council given Church Street is a conservation area."

Hackney Society chair and planning expert Nick Perry added: "It's pleasing to see the brand recant so rapidly from their brief foray sowing their wild oats around the walls of Hackney.

"It suggests this was more cock-up than the cynical gaming of the slow planning enforcement system we see around the borough.

"The assertion the sign had the council's permission was plainly wrong and advertising a high fat, high sugar vegan ice-cream product on the wall of a school playground was truly indefensible and in clear contravention of industry rules.

"The painting over of the sign, in a colour which a posh paint company might call 'panicked white', marks the end of this brief, yet very educational episode where a brand that would normally garner a positive following amongst the Stoke Newington stereotypes was rounded on for its thoughtlessness."

Linda Nordgren, communications manager at Oatly, said the firm would now put the ads in "better-placed spots".

She said: "We wanted to spread some love in Stoke Newington and had a mural painted on an outdoor ad space.

"It was not intended for, or aimed at children. This is the first time the wall has been used for a commercial mural, but all commercial advertising processes were followed."

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