Strawberry Frog Work Stars Gay Dads for Ikea

BOSTON — Ikea breaks a European campaign this month featuring a child with “two gay daddies,” according to Scott Goodson, creative director and partner of Amsterdam agency Strawberry Frog. The potentially controversial effort goes beyond past gay-themed ads from the Swedish furniture chain by portraying the couple as parents.

The work is one of a dozen new spots showing “real-life” consumers and aims to portray Ikea as being “at the center of social progress,” Goodson said.

Ikea is known for taking chances in its marketing efforts and is not afraid to embrace gay themes. In 1994, a spot from New York’s Deutsch centered around a gay couple who purchased a dining-room table from the retailer. The spot was the most overtly gay-themed ad by a consumer advertiser up to that time, and generated considerable buzz.

Crispin Porter + Bogusky in Miami earlier this year ran a print execution for Ikea’s “No Tax Sale” that showed a woman sitting on a cot in a jail cell with an apparently “predatory lesbian” waiting nearby. The ad was pulled from at least one newspaper in California after gay and lesbian groups complained.

Chris Colbert, president of marketing consultancy one eighty in Boston, said possible hoopla only increases the chance that the message will be heard. “A couple shopping for a table is real life. Gay people shop for tables-it happens,” he said. As for the “daddies” ad: “European advertising tends to be more provocative, more sexual, more overt,” Colbert said, and the spot might not get the same reaction it would receive in the U.S. Ikea executives were unavailable for comment.

The client spends about $100 million worldwide on ads, about half in the U.S. and half overseas.

Media chores are handled by The Media Edge, also in Amsterdam.