Ikea: A Winning Formula For Advertising Success

by Jul 11, 2017

Nat gives you her favourite all time campaigns from the furnishing giant in a roundup of their best work to date.

For a company which sells flat pack furniture Ikea are pretty influential on a global scale. And although they use many agencies worldwide, their sentiment remains true to heart, with campaigns that remind us, the customer, that family starts at home. Over the past few years we have seen an abundance of successful global creative work that is powerful and inspiring. So as a homage to the company here are my favourite Ikea adverts:

Happy Inside

We all know I’m a cat fanatic so let’s start with the Ikea cats concept. This spot saw London’s Wembley branch launch their 2011 cat-alogue by releasing a flurry of 100 cats, which were people’s pets, into the store late one night to explore the stores furnishings, perch on tables while playing with price tags and settle comfortably into snuggly chairs. The campaign included a TV ad, behind-the-scenes video, a YouTube channel and a mini documentary called “Pussy People”. The idea also gave audiences the chance to interact with the cats on a dedicated Facebook page. Purrfect!

Behind the scenes making of the video here:

No Bed Like Home

Moving away from an in-home experience, this ad has a rather fitting dream-like quality, with pastel tones, cloudy visuals and a soft narration of The Tempest to take us to a comfortably calm place. The beautifully shot videography shows an attractive lady dressed in nightware, falling from the sky and landing in her own bed with a gentle drop. The strapline reads ‘There’s no bed like home’ and I have to agree.

Welcome Home

The newest of the bunch is a tearjerker indeed. Reminiscent of modern day woes and work-life balance, this ad tells the story of a working mum travelling home one late dark night. She is met by the warmth and light of a path of lamps that has been set out by her son to guide her home safely. The spot, by Mother London, pulls at the heartstrings of the nation while cleverly advertising the IKEA lighting range.

Every Meals a Special Occasion

What better way to show as many products as possible in one ad while showing snippets of everyday life in a 60 second ad? A revolving floor that’s how. “Ikea believe that when you come together with the people you love, every meal is a special occasion so this ad focuses on the moment when a family is reunited at the end of the day. And everyday occasions aren’t just about families sitting around a table together in the evening. It might be you and your flatmates eating a takeaway on the sofa or you and the cat watching a box set with a bowl of soup. It doesn’t really matter, they can all be special, so enjoy them.” – what a wonderful sentiment. A brilliantly clever ad, again drumming home the message that family is at the heart of the Ikea model.

Experience the power of a bookbook™

In this hilarious spot Ikea Singapore poke fun at tech giants by pitching the Ikea Catalogue as the newest must have gadget in an Apple style ad. In an age where some may argue that print is dying, Ikea stand their ground – and they have good reason to do so, after all the furniture retailer prints over 200 million copies of their catalogue every single year.

Let’s Relax

Again we have an example of the company poking fun at modern life technology and the life we have become accustomed to. An age in which Instagram is not just a hobby, but a social appearance and where people’s obsession with publishing pictures of food has consumed their time. This ad, inspired by the findings in an Ikea report, found a large number of people were anxious about the discrepancy between their expectations of how their homes lives should be, and the reality, and challenged this by showing how a similar situation would play out in pre-revolutionary France. The simple message, put down your phone and enjoy the life and people who are in front of you.

Forest

A simple yet powerful message with a beautifully shot ad “By 2016 we will only sell Energy efficient LED lightbulbs.”

Playing with my Friends

This ad is about people coming together and hanging out – no matter what age they are. The spot stars a group of kids and their crazy friends – from a giant robot to an enormous stuffed bear (which I’m sure we are all in agreement that we want!), to a life-size doll (bit scary)and a giant monkey – preparing a meal while dancing around and generally having a fun time. According to Mother London, the ad “explores the insight that adults and children all behave better when they’re sat around the same table together, rather than the children being sat at the end of the table.”

Wonderful Life

In this ad Ikea’s usual style of advertising has been replaced by a heartwarming story of a couple’s life together and the simple moments that make it special. “It’s funny what we think of as the important moments in life; like holidays, parties, or big nights out. But what about the little moments in between these special occasions? The ones that happen everyday; like having breakfast with your family, enjoying a morning snooze, or even a simple cup of tea. In the next instalment of the Wonderful Everyday campaign we follow one couple’s amazing life together, and we discover that it was the small, everyday events that, in fact, made it wonderful.” Nawww.

My Son

IKEA is a staple requirement with students and first time buyers fleeing the family nest and for most parents it can be hard when their children leave home. This ad plays perfectly on that emotional experience showing a mother and son shopping for furniture in their local store. I won’t spoil the ending but parents get your tissues at the ready.

Saucy Valentine’s

Do you want some wood-on-wood action? Ikea had just what you need – the BÖRJE Chair. In 2014 ad agency BBH Singapore created this Valentine’s ad, which was posted to their social platforms and featured in-store. A simple and cheeky little spot, but brilliant in its own right.

Happy to Bed

The bedroom isn’t just for sleeping, even for grown-ups. It can be fun and what’s more fun than a pillow fight? In this spot created by Mother London, a couple are seen going back to childhood antics in a frenzied fling among their bedroom items. A light hearted and playful campaign.

More recently Ikea have released a new sleep related spot and it’s equally as brilliant, but in a totally different way. Check out ‘Win at Sleeping’ here:

Have a go

Sydney ad agency The Monkeys created this Braveheart-esque 60-second spot back in 2011 and it still makes me giggle. The ad shows an army of customers brandishing Ikea products in a field. After preparing for what looks like a battle they run towards their towns and into poorly furnished homes, ready to “make war” on their interiors and replace them with Ikea’s contemporary products.

Night Walkers

This advert can be summed up in one word – adorable. Yet again the company taps into everyday life situations by showing the night routine of a series of families, shifting beds until they are comfy enough to sleep. A lovely little piece of creative set to the backing track of Dream a Little Dream.

The Joy of Storage

A weird yet wonderful spot using clever CGI and a David Attenborough style story of T-shirts embarking on a journey to reach the wardrobe. After travelling high and low, across miles of land, many different climates, seas and mountains, they eventually come to rest in a beautiful Ikea Pax wardrobe. The message focuses on the joy that good storage can bring you.

Aside from their brilliance on screen, the company often do out-of-home stunts and concepts that are very relevant to modern day. Last year saw Ikea Norway showcase a stunt to help raise awareness of war torn life for the people of Syria, which I previously wrote about (here) and more recently there’s the award winning flat-pack refugee shelter.

All in all a pretty wonderful company all round – thanks to a sprinkle of Ikea furnishings my home is now complete! I can’t wait to see what creative the future has to hold from this innovative company.
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Images © Ikea

About Natalie Jahangiry

Natalie is half Persian with a Geordie accent. Although small in stature, she makes up for it with a big personality! As a Graphic Designer you will often find Natalie gushing about her passion for all things creative and sharing her ideas with everyone and anyone who will listen. If she’s not decorating her house you will find her cooking up recipes from her foodie family or propped up in a cocktail bar in town.