Tapping into the emotions connected with small domestic disasters to drive people to IKEA.
“Americans aren’t shopping for furniture the way they used to.”
That was troubling news for IKEA, the Swedish furniture manufacturer. Deutsch research had revealed that people no longer have time to linger in front of windows full of comfy chairs and jungle-patterned shower curtains. Customers are a changing breed. They shop with a purpose, know what they want and are not willing to go everywhere to find it.
At the same time, IKEA customers were turning to new, less-expensive lines of furniture at high-end stores. They were buying neatly designed, ready-to-assemble furniture in the same places they chose their motor oil and pasta sauce. IKEA was caught in the middle.
But there was good news. The previous advertising for IKEA was still strong in customers’ minds. They knew IKEA was the perfect place to go for important purchases during the big transitions in their lives. And Deutsch’s positioning of IKEA as a valuable partner for these times was still relevant.
Nevertheless, IKEA couldn’t grow if people came to them only when they were getting married, or buying a new home, or when they found themselves in an empty nest. The challenge: How could IKEA become a partner in people’s lives more frequently?
Deutsch went straight to the source. With our notebooks, we sat in the living rooms and dens and kitchens of everyday folks, and watched. And listened. What we saw was curious. As silent observers, we witnessed mini-dramas that happen in every home. Small, all-encompassing whirlwinds that, for the moment in which they are happening, are as big and absorbing as any major life event. A kid’s bleeding finger stains a favorite rug. Uncle Matt, coming from Ft. Wayne, has nowhere to sleep. Six old college friends make a surprise visit, but there are only five iced-tea glasses.
Deutsch planners tuned in to what they saw and concluded that the minor emotions, such as embarrassment and aggravation, which pop up around daily disasters–unlike the cosmic feelings you get when having a baby–could be just as effective at driving people into IKEA stores.
Based on this insight, Deutsch devised a new campaign consisting of 15-second spots that dramatized these moments of domestic truth. The commercials zeroed in on what was important to people. Like putting blinds on your windows, having enough chairs at holiday time and owning a child’s bed that can take the pounding of a 10-year-old playing kangaroo.
It was a message that confirmed what loyal IKEA customers always liked about the store, but which gave them more reasons to come back. And for those who had never shopped at IKEA, the message hit home immediately.
The result: 1997 sales increased an average of 11 percent over 1996; traffic increased 14 percent. And the position of IKEA as an empathetic partner for life and all its drama is stronger than ever.
Joakim Gip, Marketing Man.
Sara Loos, Advertising Man.
Kathy Delaney, Creative Dir.
Amy Liebesman, Account Planner
Linda Sawyer, General Man.
Cheryl Van Ooyen, Assoc. Creative Dir.
Jeffrey Wolf, Dir., Account Planning
APG-U.S. Account Planning Awards: Home Theater