IKEA’s play fort ads illustrate what’s good about times like these

Discussion
Source: IKEA
May 20, 2020
Tom Ryan

IKEA is earning wide praise for offering illustrated instruction manuals on Instagram for building a series of at-home forts. The campaign’s goal: keep the kids occupied in coronavirus lockdown.

Developed by IKEA Russia, the designs include a classic House silhouette that uses sheets draped over a table, secured by leaning books. The Fortress instructions employ sofa cushions as walls surrounding a coach. Other designs include the Wigwam, Castle, Cave and Camping Tent.

The campaign promotes IKEA’s products, although ad copy says other household items can be used. The campaign struck the right chord given IKEA’s reputation for furniture assembly while also addressing the challenges keeping home-stuck kids entertained.

Said Sara Spary for Adweek, “The retailer’s newest campaign for the quarantine era perfectly captures that yearning sense of nostalgia by bringing old-fashioned childhood adventure into (the) modern home.”

The campaign arrives amid calls for advertising messaging to shift away from empathy toward embracing life’s new routines, possibly with a bit of humor.

Budweiser resurrected its “Whassup?” campaign that first broke in 1999 to remind people to check in on friends and family during the lockdown period. Bud Light updated its “Real Men of Genius” campaign from the 1990s with a “Stay At Home Humans of Genius” effort. Executions include saluting the “Indoor Sports Maker-Upper,” “Virtual Happy Hour” and “Balcony Sing-a-long.”

Other campaigns addressing COVID-19 quarantine:

  • Shake Shack’s weekly social media series, “Shake Shack at Your Shack,” sees the restaurant chain’s culinary director and executive chef hosting cook-along videos incorporating Shake Shack core ingredients.
  • Nike’s “Living Room Cup” digital campaign offers those at home a chance to compete in weekly fitness challenges against Nike ambassadors, such as soccer star Cristiano Ronaldo and golfer Rory McIlroy.
  • Chewy rolled out a 60-second digital spot showcasing people bonding with their pets in isolation.
  • Lucky Brand Jeans launched a #WinFromHome game that encouraged Instagram users to post pictures of themselves doing a daily challenge — such as “Paint Your Dog’s Fingernails” or “Turn Breakfast Into Art Class” — to gain rewards like gift cards, promo codes and charitable donations on the player’s behalf.

DISCUSSION QUESTIONS: What type of messaging should brands be sharing with consumers as they stay at home? Have any of the campaigns mentioned in the article or others you’ve seen impressed you for speaking directly to the needs of consumers at this moment in time?

Please practice The RetailWire Golden Rule when submitting your comments.
Braintrust
"This is exactly the right kind of messaging for the times."
"IKEA’s campaign delivers value to consumers. It helps them solve a problem with exactly the right tone, and it reflects their brand value and promise (better life for all)."
"This move reinforces that brand loyalty is an emotional bond between the brand and the customer that goes well beyond the functional use of a product."

Join the Discussion!

11 Comments on "IKEA’s play fort ads illustrate what’s good about times like these"


Sort by:   newest | oldest | most voted
Oliver Guy
BrainTrust

I love what IKEA has done here. Consumers look for retailers who help them solve problems. While this may not result in any direct income for IKEA it potentially solves the problem parents have in terms of entertaining the kids while at home. This is likely to be well remembered by consumers in the future and in some reinforce the fact that IKEA helps them solve problems.

David Naumann
BrainTrust

Many people have become stir-crazy with cabin fever and dealing with working from home with the whole family present. The stay-at-home orders have taken an emotional toll on almost everyone. Brands that resonate with what people are feeling will make a lasting impression and build brand loyalty. It has been fun to see the creative ads that companies have designed.

Nikki Baird
BrainTrust

This is exactly the right kind of messaging for the times. First, it’s digital, so targeted at exactly the right channels for where consumers are going to look for advice and inspiration. Second, it’s light-hearted and helpful, aiming to help people make the most of this awful situation. Third, it takes advantage of elements that are central to the brand – IKEA’s instructions, the goofiness of Wassup, etc. For a lot of brands, the goal is to stay top of mind in a positive way when their ability to sell (and consumers’ ability to buy) is limited. If they do a good job now, they stand a chance of being top of mind when those limitations change.

Jeff Sward
BrainTrust

This move reinforces that brand loyalty is an emotional bond between the brand and the customer that goes well beyond the functional use of a product. The brand weaves itself into the thinking and the lifestyle of the customer. Problem solving is both tactical and emotional.

Georganne Bender
BrainTrust

I could get behind Lucky Brand’s “Paint Your Dog’s Fingernails” but I don’t think my pup would be a willing participant. Seriously though, their #WinFromHome campaign is an immersive winner.

While we appreciated them early on, we are all over the sincere and syrupy COVID-19 commercials. This new brand of quarantine campaign is just what we need right now to lighten the mood. I may check out the IKEA couch fort manual. I wonder if our couch will be missing any critical parts…

Lisa Goller
BrainTrust

IKEA gets it: Kids are bored and parents are harried. The retailer suggests easy, analogue fun to enliven the monotony of lockdown.

Overall, these ads strive to comfort viewers with connection, community and creativity. The common theme is to slow down and reconnect through play, fitness and food.

Bob Amster
BrainTrust

Some people and the companies for which they work are very creative and this is a winner no matter from which perspective we look at it.

Ken Morris
BrainTrust

This is what building and sustaining a brand is all about. Speaking to the customer with a message that transcends mere product, one that resonates at a deeper level. Home, family and health are a powerful message that resonates with everyone. HBO’s “It’s OK not to feel OK” is a great one.

Phil Rubin
BrainTrust
12 days 22 hours ago

IKEA and these other brands have been smart to deliver messages that are on-brand (i.e., authentic), contextually relevant (no one needs a reminder of the situation we’re in, better to proffer solutions) and focused on the customer. As obvious as this is, the dreadful sea of sameness that we are seeing and hearing from so many “brands” makes this work stand out.

Patricia Vekich Waldron
Staff

IKEA’s campaign delivers value to consumers. It helps them solve a problem with exactly the right tone, and it reflects their brand value and promise (better life for all).

William Passodelis
Guest
12 days 21 hours ago

These are all great! I especially like the IKEA ads, however, because there they are and you identify the brand and they are helping (possibly exasperated) parents keep the kids occupied with something easy and fun. Win-win. All of these are terrific to put some light-heartedness on a gloomy situation and bring some fun — while not pushing. That is great marketing.

wpDiscuz
Braintrust
"This is exactly the right kind of messaging for the times."
"IKEA’s campaign delivers value to consumers. It helps them solve a problem with exactly the right tone, and it reflects their brand value and promise (better life for all)."
"This move reinforces that brand loyalty is an emotional bond between the brand and the customer that goes well beyond the functional use of a product."

Take Our Instant Poll

Which recent campaign mentioned in the article is your favorite?

View Results

Loading ... Loading ...