Ikea is really going down the rabbit hole to promote its new catalog, and it wants to take you along for the ride.
The brand has launched a campaign from Swedish agency Forsman & Bodenfors (maker of Volvo Trucks' "Epic Split") in which it claims to hypnotize visitors to one of its stores, and then use actors to trick them into believing they are living in their own future bedrooms and bathrooms with their future family.
In the first episode, one couple's future turns out to be particularly bleak. Their daughter turns out to be a spoiled brat who develops a troubling romance in her teen years with her yoga teacher. At least the furniture and fixtures are nice and affordable, though.
Justin Tranz, a longtime Las Vegas stage entertainer who also starred in a Playboy TV show The Extreme Truth, does the hypnotizing, puppeteering the man and woman into various encounters with their feral offspring, and discussing his process in a sit-down interview with an Ikea salesman named Fred.
The ads have a certain charm to them, in part because the hypnosis is quite unconvincing, in part because of the evergreen schadenfreude of watching anyone trying to parent an adolescent, and in part because of the hapless father character's enthusiastic lines (even if the dunce dad is a stereotype other ads have bucked in recent years).
In other words, it's an offbeat path even for Ikea, which doesn't tend to shy away from getting personal or weird. (Check out Wes Anderson's ads for the brand.) It could seem odd that Ikea consumers are portrayed as easily manipulated chumps, but it's ultimately all in good fun—basically a sitcom with an reality-style interview component. Maybe not unlike Modern Family, with a hint of Arrested Development and a mystical twist.
The campaign—whose focus is bedrooms and bathrooms, to which Ikea is paying extra attention this year—supports the global launch of the new Ikea catalog. This year's theme: "Where the everyday begins and ends."
But really, what we want to know is whether Ikea furniture is any easier to put together in the future. Though unfortunately, the fact we're even asking must mean the brand has brainwashed us, too.
Agency: Forsman & Bodenfors