Ikea Built a Room in One of Its Stores to Look Like a Damaged Home in Syria

Brilliant fundraising idea with the Red Cross

Here's a fantastic use of in-store media by Ikea to bring the reality of the Syrian crisis home to those enveloped in the comforts of the West—indeed, those right in the middle of shopping for those very comforts.

Everyone is familiar with the showrooms in your typical Ikea. But one room in Ikea Slependen, the retailer's flagship store in Norway, was quite unexpected. It's a replica of a real Syrian home—25 square meters of cinder block walls and meager furnishings.

Ikea posters and price tags in the space tell the story of a typical Syrian family's plight, including the lack of food, medicine and clean water. The price tags also serve as donation slips, as the stunt is a fundraising effort with the Red Cross, created by ad agency POL.

The home is a replica of an actual residence in Damascus, as the video below explains.

"Having visited Rana and learned how she and her family survive outside Damascus, we wanted to rebuild her home as truthfully as we could," POL art director Snorre Martinsen tells AdFreak. "It would have been easier to just put up wallpaper, but it wouldn't have felt the same. People who had fled war themselves have told us, 'This is how it feels.' 'I remember this.' "

The installation was live from Oct. 17-31. It was seen by some 40,000 visitors weekly, and the campaign raised some 22 million euros for the Red Cross' efforts in Syria.

"We already had a lot of footage from within Syria, but no matter how emotional it was, nothing got close to the experience of visiting people in a war zone," says Martinsen. "We realized we could give Norwegians that experience. Placing a Syrian home next to all the Scandinavian homes was obviously a brave move from the warehouse, but it made it clearer than any TV commercial how crucial it is to donate and help." 

CREDITS
Clients: NRK TV-aksjonen, Ikea Norway and Norwegian Red Cross
Agency: POL – pol.oslo.no
Copywriter: Maja Folgerö
Art Director: Snorre Martinsen
Designers: Andrea Engum, Christian Lauritzen, Ole Jakob Böe Skattum
Account Manager: Ina Egelandsdal
Account Director: Monika Augustsson