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Can The New Ad Campaign From Ikea Convince Americans To Have More Dining Room Tables Than Spouses?

Furniture World Magazine


IKEA, the leading home furnishings retailer, announced today the launch of a new multi-million dollar marketing campaign that does something that many would say is risky - it pokes fun at our tendency to hold on to old, outdated furniture, and challenges us to break that addiction. To understand the challenge, consider that the average North American will have in their lifetime 9 watches, 7 cars, 5 jobs, 4 homes, 3 dogs, 2.5 cats, 1.5 spouses - and only1.5 dining room tables. The year-long marketing campaign, which is centered around the theme "Unböring", includes TV, print, outdoor, wildpostings, direct and interactive, and addresses the relationship many people have with their old furniture and playfully demonstrates that it's possible to create the life you really want at home with IKEA home furnishings. The first series of the campaign's humorous ads boldly depicts with images and words why it's so important to have in our lives furnishings that truly fulfill our needs and best fit our style and personality. The first commercials communicate that IKEA offers solutions which are stylish, exciting and work better, and conveys that you can achieve the home of your dreams with IKEA and if you don't, well, "You Are Crazy"! "This new marketing effort is designed to show consumers that IKEA can help you discover and create the life at home you really want, and that you can do it in an exciting, new, and unböring way," said Christian Mathieu, External Marketing Manager, IKEA US/Canada. "With these ads we tapped into the feelings and emotions that many of us have about our furniture. We wanted to show in a clever way that many of us often have somewhat irrational reasons for holding on to furnishings, which we secretly really want to get rid of and replace with something that corresponds more closely with our personality, style and taste." The ads, created by Miami-based Crispin Porter + Bogusky, will start a TV rotation in the U.S. and Canada with thirty- and sixty-second commercials, called "Lamp". Directed by Being John Malkovich director Spike Jonze, the commercials follow a woman as she puts an old lamp outside at the curbside trash, and replaces it with a new one. As soft, sad music plays, the lamp is seen at the curb in the pouring rain, seemingly watching up at the apartment window as the woman enjoys her new purchase. Suddenly a Swedish man appears and says, "Many of you feel bad for this lamp. That is because you are crazy. It has no feelings. And the new one is much better." The IKEA logo and "Unböring" tagline flash during the last few seconds. "With the rise of the automobile lease, the car you drive has actually become more of a fashion statement than the furniture in your home," explains Mathieu. "And buying furniture has become more like buying a washer or dryer. There is just no reason for that. It is affordable and easy to have a home, where everything in it brings excitement functionality and joy." In the second commercial, also airing in the U.S. and Canada later in the month, we see "Moo Cow Milker", a creamer in the form of a cow on a table with two table settings. A man and a woman lean over the table in a passionate embrace, and as they begin kissing they rattle the china, knocking everything, including the moo cow milker on the floor. For a few moments, the camera focuses on the broken moo cow milker, lying in a pool of its own milk. As the camera cuts to the outside of the home, a Swedish man passing by glances through the couple's window, and then says to the camera, "Right now, you feel sad for the moo cow milker. That is because you are crazy. This woman knows tacky items can easily be replaced with better IKEA." The marketing campaign will appear in a broad range of media. In the U.S., TV airtime buys include prime time, some early morning slots, as well as during high-rating shows such as NBC's Friends, Will and Grace and Frasier. The U.S. buys are concentrated in IKEA store markets such as New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, San Francisco and Philadelphia, and exclude IKEA franchise markets including Seattle, San Diego and Houston. Wes Anderson, also the director of the popular movies, The Royal Tenenbaums, Rushmore and Bottle Rocket, will direct the next set of commercials, which will air in November. Print ads in the U.S. will be featured in national magazines like InStyle, Vibe, Cosmopolitan and Real Simple and bring to life the "Unböring" theme. The ads shows the juxtaposition of old furniture which the reader sees lifted to reveal tangled roots extending from the floor and then an IKEA furnishing that's stylish and classy with it's affordable price listed - communicating that it can be easy to convert your life at home from boring to unboring. The IKEA outdoor billboards focus on the IKEA affordable price offer in a blatant way. Called "Price Tag" we see an oversized price tag with an attached actual IKEA furnishing dangling in the wind emphasizing the tremendous value that IKEA provides to its shoppers. The outdoor rotates in different IKEA markets and starts with New York and San Francisco. During the months of January and February the outdoor billboards will be seen in Los Angeles and Washington, D.C., and later in the year will be featured in Philadelphia, Baltimore, Pittsburgh and Chicago. Also, another outdoor vehicle for IKEA that's planned to run through the year is wildpostings. The wildpostings complement the print ads and demonstrate the IKEA marketing campaign's umbrella theme: Unböring. The wildpostings will be in all IKEA markets, excluding its franchise markets, and primarily in urban locations. Another element of the marketing plan includes the development of a mini book, which will be inserted in design publications like Wallpaper, dwell and Metropolis. The first mini book has an initial printing of ten million copies and is titled, "The Unböring Manifesto." This mini book describes the importance of the unböring lifestyle, the history of IKEA and anecdotal stories about select designs in the IKEA product range that have been created in a definite unböring and unique fashion. As a first trial for IKEA with interactive is the creation of a separate, dedicated website, www.unboring.com, that goes live on September 16. This site will serve as an additional resource for the Unböring theme. Initially the site features a flash animated version of the mini book "The Unböring Manifesto," the IKEA "You Are Crazy" TV ads and provides other functions such as a room configurator which demonstrates how IKEA furniture will fit and look into a space and self help tools that will assistant customers with their "old furniture attachment." Finally, one of the primary IKEA marketing vehicles is the new 2003 IKEA Catalog, which was distributed in early September to more than 110 million consumers globally. The 344-page catalog offers furnishing designs and room setting inspirations, as well as space maximizing solutions using this year's catalog theme, "Think Cubic." The 2003 Catalog is available in 24 different languages in 32 different countries. Later in the year IKEA plans to distribute 12 million copies of its seasonal holiday brochure and summer brochure.

Furniture World is the oldest, continuously published trade publication in the United States. It is published for the benefit of furniture retail executives. Print circulation of 20,000 is directed primarily to furniture retailers in the US and Canada.  In 1970, the magazine established and endowed the Bernice Bienenstock Furniture Library (www.furniturelibrary.com) in High Point, NC, now a public foundation containing more than 5,000 books on furniture and design dating from 1620. For more information contact editor@furninfo.com.