Saturday, September 15, 2007

The New Ikea Ad - Something's Not Right

I've seen Ikea's new ad campaign a few times now. The first time I saw it I thought I didn't hear it right or perhaps my eyes deceived me, but the next time around there was no mistaking it.

The central idea of the ad is the notion of home. Here's the blurb from Ikea's website:
IKEA believes that homes are not just made of bricks and mortar with four walls. Home is an emotion - a feeling of security, safety, comfort, peace, about being yourself and being together with your loved ones. Home is the place where memories are made, relationships are built, where children and families grow together. IKEA believes that regardless of where you live or who you are, home is the most important place in the world.
It's a wonderful idea, for sure. Evokes warm feelings. Who doesn't like the idea of home?

The problem is with the visuals in its TV ad. The ad contains pictures of various types of homes - apartments, single-family homes, a horse trailer, a house perched on the edge of a spectacular cliff, a boathouse, farmhouse, a tent in a desert. It also has a shot of a structure fashioned out of rags, plastic sheets and paper on the back of an old, abandoned car. Right at that point, the grating, all-knowing voice-over intones,
...because wherever you are, whoever you are, home is the most important place in the world.
I don't know the jargon, but this is one of those feel-good ads that's supposed to evoke favorable feelings in the viewer about the company. It does not directly sell a product. But it's Ikea. You know exactly what they are selling. And the point is, whoever lives in that contraption of rags and metal and paper is homeless. They don't have a place they can call their own in this whole wide world. They probably can't afford even the cheapest of Ikea's formidably low-priced products. Even if they could, they would have no place to put it. No, they are not secure, safe, at peace or comfortable. They are probably on someone else's land, living in fear that at any point they might be thrown out.

The ad was pleasant enough when it started out. Some of the shots are visually stunning. But by the end, it left me with a bad taste in my mouth.

Here's the ad from Ikea's website (you will need RealPlayer).

I tried to find the ad on YouTube. They don't have the version they are playing here in the US, but they do have this:


Anonymous said...

I'm a hge ikea fan, (see my link) and I thought the same thing actually just now when it was on again.

I think the shanties were toallly unnessary and not their 'market'

I think what would have been more effective would have been to wide shot on a room with ikea features, say a chair or lamp, in shot and go out the window to the spectacular scenery. Or perhaps vice versa, start outside and go in through the window or have things visible FROM the window. and show people. people make the house a home.

Do several of these shots in a row, even including more modest dwelling with to show everyone can afford IKEA (though shanty town is still a unlikely one).

Sujatha Bagal said...

Jen, agree with you about the shanty town, although even a shanty town is better but not by much. Your approach sounds lovely.

Sujatha Bagal said...

Meant to say: A shanty town is better, but not by much.

Anonymous said...

funny you commented on it. i was thinking the same! i am a HUGE IKEA fan and i was disappointed by this ad. also, what was a bit strange to me is that IKEA is still expanding in the US and there are many towns without an IKEA (for e.g. Cincinnati, where i live, is medium-sized city and we are getting our first IKEA next year) and if you didn't know what IKEA was, you would never figure it out from this ad. seems like a poor use of marketing funds.

Anonymous said...

I thought it was a good ad (not a great one though)...That contraption can be some teenagers "fun" project or hangout!! I think the ad conveys the real IKEA message - which is no matter where you live, if you want your place to feel like home, we've got you covered...instead of looking like a typical furniture company ad (which show chairs, lamps, cozy rooms and people...thats cliche and definitely not IKEA)..


Anonymous said...

I'm also a huge Ikea fan, but I'm dumbfounded by the new ad. There are lots of ways to come across as 'atypical' and not just another furniture fact, Ikea has done that many times already (check out some of the wild, funny, engaging commercials they've done in the past). This one is just inert and pointless. And I also agree with the poster who questions using the shanty (twice, right? on the back of the truck and that mobile home?). What's the point? I've written a bit about it at DIM BULB if you want to check it out.

Anonymous said...

I think you're over-analyzing the message by trying to link it to IKEA products. By using the shanty, IKEA is conveying the fact that a home is a home, no matter what your income status is. And thus, IKEA respects the idea of people loving their homes because it's a "Place of love, laughter, etc." not because it's a place filled with material possessions. Kudos, IKEA for a rather humanist message rather than simple corporate propaganda.