Ikea Goes for Fashion

“Furniture as fashion” was the strategy that delivered Ikea’s North American account to Crispin Porter + Bogusky.

“Cars are fashion, clothes are fashion, kitchen appliances are now fashion,” said Tom Birk, director of planning and research at CP+B. “Why shouldn’t my couch and sofa be fashion?”

The Miami shop swept the review committee’s votes, Ikea sources said, defeating finalists Berlin Cameron/Red Cell, New York, and Goodby, Silverstein & Partners, San Francisco, to win the estimated $40-50 million account.

Minneapolis incumbent Car michael Lynch, which held the business for less than a year, did not defend it. Pile and Co. in Boston oversaw the review.

Sources suggested Carmichael Lynch suffered because of a “lack of focus” on both sides of the account. “They lacked a sense of vision and direction,” said one Ikea executive. “But I hold us 50 percent responsible. You have to be clear with input to get great output.”

Strategic planning, not Alex Bogusky’s high-flying creative, was key to CP+B’s victory, sources said. “Our assignment was to redefine how North Americans think about home furnishings,” said Christian Mathieu, Ikea’s external marketing director, USA/Canada. “Crispin delivered on that strategy and presented a creative umbrella illustrating how it would come to life.”

“Our goal was not to compete against Pottery Barn or to figure out what consumers want and make Ikea that brand,” said Birk, “but to change the home furniture culture in North America.”