Furniture marketing, by and large hasn’t really developed in any major way for as long as I can remember. However, there is one exception and that is Ikea.
The world of furniture marketing is a pretty conservative. Ad’s will usually appear in print or on TV where the furniture can be shown, usually with price and more than likely people enjoying said furniture in immaculately decorated surroundings. Now don’t get me wrong Ikea produce their own catalogue which fulfils all these furniture marketing stereotypes, but they do like to mix things up with guerrilla and ambient techniques and late last year saw a very clever yet simple social media promotion. Even when Ikea do TV ad’s they still like to throw in a twist that gets people talking about the brand. All of their more edgy marketing has one thing in common, it’s aimed at bringing their brochure to life.
1. Ikea Facebook
First, I’ll get the most obvious one out of the way. This was one of my Top 9 of ’09 due to its simplicity. A showroom picture uploaded to their Facebook profile, first people to tag an item win that item. Simple idea that gets customers interacting with a type of online brochure. Brilliant!
2. Ikea Guerrilla New York
These pictures are from New York in 2006, where Ikea set up 650 ‘everyday fabulous’ experiences for New Yorkers over five days to promote Design Week. These are simple ideas that took the urban edge off bus shelters and parking meters, allowing people experience the catalogue in surprising circumstances.
As an aside to this, and to refer back to my 3 Step Formula for marketing ideas, This general concept was re-engineered recently in Ireland, and used in a much poorer context for Vodafone. The advert takes the surprise and fun out of the concept. View it here.
3. Ikea Monorail
In 2008 Ikea re-engineered their New York ideas for Kobe Portliner Monorail.
4. Ikea Brooklyn
In 2008 Ikea promoted the launch of its new store in Brooklyn with mini pop up appartments decked out with all Ikea gear.
5. Ikea meets Abolsut
Abolsut Vodka, a bread featured many times in the past here, merged their brand with Ikea for this clever New York ad.
6. Ikea 40th
For their 40th birthday the Ikea store in Stockholm was decorated like
a massive birthday cake
7. Ikea TV Commercials
Ikea was also the first company to feature Gay and Transgender individuals in their TV advertising. When they do TV ad’s, they do them differently. These ones below feature all the elements expected in the genre. Furniture? Check. Happy looking people enjoying furniture? Check. Immaculately decorated surroundings? Check. But there’s a twist
This following commercial was made in Germany and poked fun at Ikea’s Swedish heritage. It was subsequently banned by the firms head office
8. Ikea ‘Not For Sale’
The company did run into trouble in 2007 for a campaign that included the placing of estate agent style ‘for sale’ signs in London with the phrase ‘Not For Sale’. This was part of a campaign called ‘Home is the Most Important Place in the World’. The signs were deemed to be too similar to a campaign by a UK home refurbishment company who also used ‘Not For Sale’ signs in 2006. Ikea agreed to promote Onis Living for 1 year on its campaign site. You can view the Ikea version here and Onis version here.
9. Ikea ‘Sims 2: Home Stuff Pack’
In 2008 the company became the second (after H&M) to release a ‘stuff pack’ for The Sims that featured all furniture and decoration from Ikea.
10. Ikea Southampton
In 2009 to promote the opening of Ikea Southhampton the company painted the MV Red Osprey Ferry in the distinctive colours and logo of the firm. The ferry remained that colour for 12 months to also promote the Isle Of Wight delivery service.
11. Ikea Tampa
To promote their store in Tampa, Ikea produced this impressive take on a message in a bottle.
12. Ikea Malaysia
To promote the idea that organisation can save space, Ikea came up with this idea to turn the stairs in its main store into a chest of drawers.
13. Win a ‘Date With Ikea’
Last years Pavement album Brighten The Corners featured a track called ‘Date With Ikea’. To promote the album the record label Matador ran a competition where fans could win a $500 Ikea voucher and a date with a band member in an Ikea store.
14. Ikea Bondai Beach
Ikea set up 30 of its ‘Billy’ bookshelves on Bondi beach to celebrate the products 30th birthday. An excellent eye catching idea for the company
15. Ikea Movie Marketing
In Austria last year Ikea announced the launch of their new catalogue by advertising it in Cinemas. Sounds very ordinary until you see how it was executed – using mainstream Hollywood films that happened to feature Ikea furniture. Once the items appeared onscreen it triggered a projection of the products name and price onto the screen. This immediately draws the viewers attention to item, not to mention the added bonus of having Hollywood superstars such as Will Smith and George Cloony using the products as well. This is a very clever technique that once again demonstrates how the brand takes the elements of a brochure and communicates them in fun and interesting ways. It’s a more direct form of product placement and I have to wonder did the movies producers received any form of financial compensation as per normal product placements. However, while this is a nice quirky once off I’m this would quickly get very irritating.
When approaching a marketing campaign I like to look at what resources are attached to the brand (or product, or service) and how can they can infuse the marketing in new and interesting ways. Looking at Ikea the most obvious resources are the items they sell, their global presence, brand name and reputation. The latter two are self perpetuating. Your marketing establishes your brand and its reputation (or vica versa if there’s a very strong brand image already). This in turn requires your marketing to fulfil certain requirements to live up to the brand and reputation. One pushes the other to evolve, which forces the other to develop even further. If that doesn’t happen your brand and marketing stagnate and, like in the wild, your competitors will catch you up and devour you. Ikea constantly push their marketing in new and exciting ways that always manage to live up to the brand image, yet remain ahead of their competing pack. For such a large organisation they are incredibly flexible and open to trying new marketing techniques and strategies. This has obviously paid off for the company. The vast array of ideas in this post here have helped the firm generate massive revenues (€22 Billion in 2009) and maintained its position in the global marketplace after almost 60 years of changing fads and trends in the world of design.
Further Ikea Links
Ikea Fans http://www.ikeafans.com/
Ikeapedia – http://www.ikeafans.com/ikeapedia.html