Ikea Tells an Adoption Story in Its Latest Tough Take on Family Life

Furniture bears witness

Headshot of Angela Natividad

Ikea. We’ll always think of the furniture retailer’s quirky and fun executions. But in its home country of Sweden, agency Åkestam Holst is making an effort to show that the brand isn’t all frills and froth—and that it knows families are more complicated than that.

Its latest “Where Life Happens” spot, titled “Coming Home,” follows a woman’s journey to the other side of the world, on a heartfelt quest to finally meet the child she’s adopted. She’s prepped for this—in the album they first share as mother and child, she’s printed (printed!) pictures of his new home and world, coupled with simple captions.

His life is about to change. Hers is, too, and the ad recognizes the unknown yawning before them with acute sensitivity.

Prior to this spot, Åkestam Holst helped the brand tackle such difficult topics as aging in a marriage, how adolescence affects father-daughter relationships, and divorce. It also hasn’t stopped at classic advertising; one Adwords campaign, late last year, used commonly searched family issues to punt the appropriate furniture.

But like the TV spots that came before it, “Coming Home” keeps its product touch soft. Floating promotions appear at the end for the various goods this woman buys her adopted son, without interrupting the story’s gentle flow.

This kid’s going to have a well-nurtured life. It perhaps helps that his new—and apparently single—mother didn’t have to spend too much on the both practical and the playful items that will now help compose his new childhood.

The ad was created in collaboration with Adoptionscentrum, a Swedish organization that educates families about adoption.

Client: Ikea
Agency: Åkestam Holst
Director: Martin Werner
Production Company: Bacon

@luckthelady angela.natividad@gmail.com Angela Natividad is a frequent contributor to Adweek's creativity blog, AdFreak. She is also the author of Generation Creation and co-founder of Hurrah, an esports agency. She lives in Paris and when she isn't writing, she can be found picking food off your plate.