This Ikea Ad Is a ‘Verdi’ Interesting Way To Launch a Catalog

An operatic tribute to 'me' time versus 'we' time

A little "me" time. Ikea USA

Some may call it a crutch, others may call it a tactic to infuse gravitas, but either way, opera has a long history in supporting advertising, possibly starting with Rice Krispies’ use of “Vesti la giubba” from Pagliacci in the late 60s.

Carl Orff’s “O Fortuna” from Carmina Burana, with its tension, is also a particular favorite (and a song I may or may not have used for a Comcast radio ad in the early 2000s) The William Tell Overture by Rossini fronts cigarettes and a clever Honda stunt—and plenty of other arias of every stripe keep this list going.

However, Giuseppe Verdi’s music may very well corner the market for use in ads. “Libiamo ne’ leiti calici” from La Traviata makes an appearance in a Heineken ad and “La Donna e Mobile” from Rigoletto has lent its perky style as a muse for a number of spots, including Groupon and Doritos Super Bowl ads.

“[La Donna e Mobile is] so catchy, so facile to the ear,” Victor DeRenzi, the Sarasota Opera’s artistic director told the Sarasota Herald-Tribune in 2012. “Musically, it’s so natural, you start singing it without even realizing it.”

In the case of Ikea, the hope is that this earworm puts a new spot for its 2019 catalog squarely in the spotlight. In lieu of creating faux lyrics, the film spins through a few storylines and everyday situations—family time, party time, alone time, exercise time, work time—simply using the words “we” and “me” set to the music.

Created by Swedish agency Acne and Ikea Creative Hub, the idea for the spot came from brand research that showed “an inherent tension between space and relationships,” which explains the “me time” versus “we time” theme. As spaces get smaller and technology erases the boundaries between work and relaxation, the delicate balance between being alone and with others is harder to achieve.

Like most work from the brand, this film has an understated bravado with a density of product that weaves in nicely with the actors without being too in your face. Another plus is that we don’t have to endure a price and item parade— with styling and pacing that, unsurprisingly, seeds mental notes of which yet-to-be-assembled product might look good in a house or apartment.

And clocking in at 90-seconds, the length of the work is just enough to not go overboard. Ideas like this can get loose quickly and one more verse would have had us singing a different tune about a shtick that fizzled out.


Executive Creative Director, Acne: Johan Bello
Creative Director, Ikea Creative Hub: Morten Kjaer
Senior Creative, Acne: Tiago Pinho
Creatives, Acne: Joel Lindblad, Isaac Bonnier
Account Director, Acne: Lovisa Friman Bendz
Directors, Acne: Tompa & Rondo
Assignor, Ikea: Rebecka Mcjannett
Assignor, Ikea: Tanja Dolphin
Assignment Leader, Ikea Creative Hub: Antje Lühmann
Senior Creative, Ikea Creative Hub: Fredrik Edling

@zanger Doug Zanger is a senior editor, agencies at Adweek, focusing on creativity and agencies.