In a Clever Twist, Ikea Shows How a Bad TV Ad Can Turn Into a Good Ad for Ikea

When people leave the room, the furnishings stand out

When a family's movie is interrupted by a bad ad, it becomes a good ad...for Ikea. Ikea Sweden
Headshot of David Griner

Ikea’s home-country agency, Åkestam Holst, is really doing an impressive job turning boredom into a marketing medium.

The Stockholm-based creative shop, Adweek’s International Agency of the Year for 2017, debuted a preroll campaign last fall that practically (and sometimes literally) begged you to skip its long and pointless ads. Perhaps because the clips were so mesmerizingly inconsequential, they proved oddly entrancing, with the average viewing time being 3 minutes and 39 percent of viewers reportedly watching the full 9-minute clips, according to the agency.

Now the hyper-realistic “Where Life Happens” Ikea campaign is back, and this time we’re not just watching a boring ad. We’re watching a family watching a boring ad. Then we’re watching them not watch it. And that’s when it truly becomes an Ikea ad.

Honestly the whole thing is some kind of meta advertising ouroboros, so it’s better if you just watch for yourself:

While it might be overreaching to say the ad has a “twist,” as its monotony certainly never gives way, it’s still a nice visual play to replace the exiting family members with labels for Ikea products—which stick out so much better when no one’s around to use them.

Running in Swedish cinemas, on TV and in digital, the spot was directed by Martin Werner of Bacon Stockholm.

“Ikea understands how people live in the real world,” the agency explains in a statement about the ad. “In their latest spot we meet a family watching a thrilling movie that suddenly is interrupted by a commercial break. The magic is gone and like so many others this family chooses to leave their cozy sofa to do other things. This is when Ikea takes the opportunity to do some advertising.”

Client: Ikea Sweden
Agency: Åkestam Holst
Creative Director: Magnus Jacobsson
Creatives: Jesper Holst and Mark Ardelius
Account Director: Kjell Månson
Agency Producer: Leila Widgren
Planner: Jerker Winther

@griner David Griner is creative and innovation editor at Adweek and host of Adweek's podcast, "Yeah, That's Probably an Ad."