NEW YORK Well known for its low-cost home furnishings, Ikea is enjoying newfound popularity as a dining destination with shoppers who like its cheap, kid-friendly cafeteria.
Starting in October, the retailer will take its association with food a step further with free cooking seminars. They're part of an ad deal cooked up by Meredith's Family Circle, which is presenting the tour with Food University, a culinary events company. The five-city tour, called Food University Presented by Family Circle, kicks off in Seattle and features chefs demonstrating recipes from the magazine.
Sole sponsor Ikea also will commit to pages in Family Circle. The 3.9 million-circulation pub wouldn't disclose the number of pages, but said they represented an increased investment over 2008, when the retailer started advertising in the title.
Ikea increased its magazine spend in the Jan.-June 2009 period to $7.1 million, or 15 percent of its total media budget. In the year-earlier period, it spent $6.7 million in magazines, or 13 percent of its media budget, per Nielsen.
"We know that our readers, the moms of teens and tweens, have started cooking more and more at home as a way to save money and spend more time with their families," said Carey Witmer, publisher, Family Circle. "Our partnership...gives us the opportunity to help people feel more comfortable in their kitchens."
To help establish the event's brand name, Family Circle also changed the name of its monthly food column, "Cooking School," to "Food University."
Family Circle has been an exception in an otherwise lousy ad climate for magazines. This year through October, its ad pages grew 14 percent to 1,411 vs. an 11 percent decline in the women's service/lifestyle category and 23 percent decline for the industry overall, per the Mediaweek Monitor.
Nielsen Business Media