Ad of the Day: Ikea’s Very Humble Banner Ads Assume You Clicked on Them by Mistake

They'll even double-check if you want a product pitch

Headshot of Tim Nudd

We’ve been fans of Swedish agency Åkestam Holst’s Ikea advertising for a while.

The “Where life happens” campaign has included refreshingly honest depictions of family life, including a very memorable ad about divorce. It’s also had some innovative digital elements, like the effort late last year that renamed particular products after frequently Googled problems that those products solve.

Here is the agency’s latest clever digital Ikea work—called Perceptive Banners.

“Where life happens” has always been inspired by how people live in the real world. So, this new campaign takes an honest look at banner advertising. In short, almost no one clicks on a banner on purpose. And these (self-hating?) banner admit as much.

They’ll even ask if you really meant to click on them.

Check out the case study here:

“Who doesn’t click these things 24/7 by mistake? No one. If you’re inspired by people’s everyday lives, you need to acknowledge that, even in banners,” says agency creative director Magnus Jakobsson.

“When your business idea is to make people’s everyday lives a little better, you wouldn’t like to annoy them unknowingly. But mobile banner ads do! With these perceptive banners, Ikea found a way to acknowledge that” adds copywriter Mark Ardelius.

It’s a pretty clever idea that should engender goodwill among the audience, if only by offering the very relatable message that banner advertising is, yes, generally very annoying.

Will that be enough to get people to consider entertaining a pitch in the moment? Probably not. In fact, the gimmick actually seems to add a step to the process. Asking people to opt into a banner message is fine, but doesn’t it just add to the clutter?

We’d venture to say the friendly brand persona is disarming enough to work here, but let’s not pretend this will help move too much more product.

Client: Ikea Sweden
Agency: Åkestam Holst

@nudd Tim Nudd is a former creative editor of Adweek.