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IKEA is universally known as the Swedish brand that revolutionized flat-pack furniture, homewares, and probably meatballs. While recently committing to becoming 100% renewable by 2030, the brand hasn’t yet widely communicated this promise. Even IKEA UK’s latest campaign, “Fortune Favours the Frugal”, doesn’t explicitly make reference to this. Instead, it encourages viewers to tackle the impending threat of climate change – visualizing it as a meteor whose impact is mitigated by people taking small “green” actions every day.
Previous IKEA ads have certainly dabbled with the magical and irreverent, but we wondered – would the brand and message get lost within the elaborate production? To assess its effectiveness, we used our three C’s framework:
The cinematic thriller demanded viewers’ attention, with people enjoying the “slow-burn” story. While the serious subject matter could’ve left people feeling a little gloomy, focusing instead on the small eco-friendly habits we can all adopt – and amplifying this through an upbeat and feel-good soundtrack – inspired people to think about the impact they could have. Bringing this to life by metaphorically dismantling a meteor of trash certainly stood out and aroused viewers’ curiosity.
IKEA has a unique and somewhat quirky advertising style, while typically adopting a problem-solution narrative structure – dramatizing the issue and presenting IKEA’s products as the answer (which was the case for its strong-performing 2019 Xmas campaign). While “Fortune Favours the Frugal” attempted to employ a similar strategy, the brand’s role in the narrative wasn’t as clear.
Part of this related to the messaging around sustainable environmental practices and recycling not being widely established for IKEA. This was exacerbated by many people missing the metaphor behind the out-of-control meteor – specifically that it was made up of waste which more environmentally-friendly habits would’ve rendered obsolete. This then in-turn meant the majority failed to join the dots with how the innocuous IKEA products interspersed throughout were responsible for the meteor’s progressive destruction.
Messaging around sustainability aligned well with IKEA’s modern, progressive, and innovative positioning, while the lively and upbeat presentation built ‘fun’ and ‘creative’ perceptions around the brand. With the majority being unfamiliar with IKEA’s environmental initiatives, lots of new, relevant, and differentiating information was taken away from the ad about the brand. This “green” messaging helped build both short-term consideration and longer-term favorability toward IKEA.
While “Fortune Favours the Frugal” was a strong performer, it’s a reminder for advertisers that the brand’s role in driving the narrative must be clear. Advertisers can sometimes get away with telling a story which doesn’t make complete sense, but when confusion relates to the brand’s role in facilitating outcomes (i.e., conveying the intended messaging) then this often has more serious repercussions. In this instance the creative emphasis on the out-of-control meteor overshadowed the brand; however, with very small adjustments the link back to the products featured could’ve been made much clearer – boosting effectiveness in the process.
We were supported by market research technology platform Cint to collect data from respondents in the UK.