Is Ikea’s ‘Lamp’ Ad by Spike Jonze the Best Rug-Pull in Advertising History?

John Matejczyk picks his three favorite ads.

Headshot of Katie Richards

Throw an inanimate object outside in the pouring rain, cue some sad music, and it’s easy to get viewers to feel sorry for that thing. Even when it’s something as insignificant as a lamp.

Ikea’s “Lamp” ad from 2002, created by Crispin Porter + Bogusky and directed by Spike Jonze, did just that in hilariously manipulative fashion. It played up the melodrama of an old lamp being tossed onto the street by its owner, and made you feel sorry for it. Then it brought you right back down to earth.

“Every ad person ever has done the old rug-pull commercial,” John Matejczyk, executive creative director and co-founder of Muh-tay-zik Hof-fer, tells Adweek in our latest “Best Ads Ever” video. A lot of times that move can feel cheap, the “Lamp” spot “did such of an amazing job of brining you down an emotional journey,” he added.

Matejczyk counts “Lamp” as one of his three favorite ads, though he made sure to clarify that those three fall under what he called the “1984 stipulation”—that Apple’s “1984” is hands down the best ad of all time, though at this point not worth discussing at still more length. (But in case you do want to get into that, check out this video).

Another of Matejczyk’s favorites is just as delightfully bizarre as Ikea’s spot. In 2002, Wieden + Kennedy and Traktor created an ad for Nike called “Angry Chicken.” It featured a man running away from a rambunctious little chicken. The ad is narrated by a surprisingly calm Frenchman, all the while another man translates the words into English. “None of it made any sense logically…but my jaw dropped,” Matejczyk said of the spot.

A final ad that Matejczyk said has “stood the test of time” is Volkswagen’s “Milky Way” ad, also known as “Pink Moon,” created by Arnold in Boston and featuring the track by Nick Drake. “I had never heard of Nick Drake … but they found his track ‘Pink Moon’ and put it on the incredible commercial by [Jonathan] Dayton and [Valerie] Faris. It was just so impeccably crafted,” Matejczyk said.

Hear more from Matejczyk in the video at the top of this story? And for our full “Best Ads Ever” series, click here.

@ktjrichards Katie Richards is a staff writer for Adweek.