IKEA – Old fashioned advertising that is perfect for a digital world


Hello all, I’ve been away for a while and thought I’d ease myself back in with a nice simple creative commentary

It pains me to say it (having recently stopped working on IKEA’s business and so can’t take any reflected glory) but I’ve been really impressed with the work that IKEA have been doing recently in the UK, it feels like it has really started to click for them.

They seem to have found the holy grail of the perfect balance of rational and emotional in mass market broadcast advertising as well as finding a good reason to develop engaging content for active consumption online. They’ve created a properly integrated and multifaceted campaign and to do this they seem to have gone back to traditional advertising basics. I reckon that the Adcontrarian would love this.

This season they appear to be promoting their storage range. It is a product area that IKEA are rightly proud of as they truly innovate in this area and pretty much everybody has something of this ilk from IKEA, but the problem is it just isn’t “sexy” like a sofa or a kitchen. It is just stuff to put other stuff in. About a year ago they had great intentions to get people interested by trying to create a war of the sexes with a “who’s messier: Men or Women?” But although an admirable effort it just didn’t take off with their customers.

This year they have clearly gone back to the drawing board and I think they have delivered some stunning results.

Building on the success of their last two kitchens campaigns (Kitchen Parties and Playing with my Friends) Mother appear to have decided to commit to the “music video” format for the central strand of their TV campaign. As such, the first thing I saw was this beautiful advert posing as a music video that serenaded the benefits of having better storage solutions. They managed to take an incredibly rational and potentially dull topic and make it all about falling in love, the most emotionally engaging topic of all.

For all the developments in digital media, a powerful TV campaign is still the single most effective way of driving brand and product consideration, it is also the first part of a campaign that people are likely to see and so it is vital that you nail that element and I (and most people commenting on Youtube) think they have. They’ve managed to showcase loads of products and the benefits without feeling overly commercial. Tying it together at the end with “Make room for your Life” they have taken last year’s broad theme of “Happy Inside” and made it more clearly relevant to consumers’ needs.

If they’d stopped here I’d say it was already a definite improvement on last year, but they also understand the power of different media and have taken the same theme and brought it to life in different contexts to move people from just a nice warm fluffy feeling about IKEA’s storage solutions to a more definite understanding of how YOU can use it to improve YOUR life. They’ve avoided the temptation of taking a still from the TV creative and have presented real stories in a very simple but compelling press format that could have fallen straight out of the pages of “Ogilvy on Advertising”

Ikea - Expedit Shelving Unit_2842806

The scan from a newspaper doesn’t do it justice, but the strong visual, coupled with with simple straightforward copy that connects human passions with practical solutions is actually incredibly refreshing. But isn’t it weird that it is surprising and refreshing to see an ad which basically just follows the rules on what we’ve always been told makes a great ad – such as this one

volkswagen_lemon

What Mother have been able to do however that Bill Bernbach couldn’t is then help consumers really witness the true benefit of Expedit shelving to Harry – this press ad sends readers who are interested to watch the story of Harry’s Vinyl on ikea.co.uk – a lovely 4 minute “changing rooms” style piece of content that is focused on using storage to help people do more of what they love. It manages to be emotionally engaging, yet at the same time is completely commercial as every item used is tagged so that viewers can go look it up for themselves later.

There is an alternative for the girls which focuses on Jess’s trainer obsession/business and so allows them to showcase their bedroom furniture range as well.

I think that this is a really smart integration of traditional advertising and digital content that fully delivers against solid business objectives. I dearly hope that work this good helps to sell more IKEA furniture!

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