Commentary

Ikea Takes Cannes Advertiser Of The Year Honors

The folks at Cannes announced yesterday that Ikea would collect its Advertiser of the Year trophy on June 25 during the Film, Film Craft, Titanium & Integrated and Creative Effectiveness Lions. Ad trades around the world pretty much picked up the release verbatim. But some pointed to some of the work that garnered the honor for the Swedish retailer, which now has more than 127,000 people working in 284 stores in 26 countries, and so shall we.

First, though, the accolades and gracious acceptance release.

"Ikea's approach to its marketing and communications, with its decentralized structure and strong relationships with many different kinds of agencies, has been hugely successful over many years," states Cannes Lions CEO Philip Thomas as reported by CampaignBrief, a blog for advertising creatives in Australia. "The company's superb track record at Cannes reveals a clarity of vision and an enviable willingness to allow its agencies to truly flex their creative muscles."

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Noel Wijsmans, global retail manager and vp of Ikea Group, will accept the award, which he says is a great honor. He does not thank his mentors, family or personal trainer, thankfully, but does make mention of "all the creative agencies we work with worldwide, our in-house agency Ikea Communications in Sweden and all our fantastic co-workers around the globe."

Oh, there's also you and me: "It is a great recognition of Ikea advertising that speaks to all of us who want to have a functional and beautiful home. We want to inspire people to fulfill needs and dreams in their everyday life at home. And we want to do that with a smile."

That is apparent in a quick sampling of spots from all over. One way to view a portion of the worldwide oeuvre is at The Australian website Best Ads on TV, but you'll have to pay for anything that's in the archive (which purportedly means more than a week old but apparently doesn't, actually.)

The Being Human blog features a 2010 Cannes Bronze winner out of Leo Burnett Hong Kong. A series of giant Ikea curtains is displayed as an audience waits for a trailer in a darkened movie theater. They "mimic the more traditional drapes at Kowloon's MegaBox shopping centre," we are told. I guess it's about as good a TV advertisement as I've ever seen ... for drapes.

Ad Age's Laurel Wentz rounds up work from a half dozen agencies from around the world, including two spots from the Swedish shop Forsman & Bodenfors and a nod to Dutch agency Lenz's "365" online campaign, which "debuts a new spot every day because one commercial just isn't enough to describe all of Ikea's amazing products."

Then there's the "Happy Inside" spot from Mother London in which 100 cats are let loose in the Wembley store and find their own spots to nestle in. In an accompanying Facebook campaign, viewers who guessed which furniture proved to be the most popular were eligible to win the pieces.

Quoth "Dabitch" in adland.tv: "Ikea have been on an advertising winning streak since long before they won the Grand Prix in Cannes for the unb"ring 'Lamp,' but that one cemented Ikea as a creative fun client to work on. While punk-queen Nina Hagen promoted Ikea Berlin, elite designers hated Ikea, and German Ikea made fun of funny Swedish customs." Within those two dense sentences alone are four hotlinks, making worthwhile the roundtrip ticket there and back to Marketing Daily.

Campaign's Sara Kimberley points out that Ikea was founded in 1943 by Ingvar Kamprad, who was then 17. The letters in the brand name comprise the initials of the Swedish founder's name, the farm where he grew up and his home parish. Six week ago, Kimberley showed the most recent spot from Mother, a "battle of the sexes" in which two male and two female improv comedians trade barbs before a live audience. The eternal question, of course, is whether men or women are messier in the home. Amusing. Again, viewers can cast a vote on Facebook and there are other interactive features to the campaign.

If you're looking for something more pointed or disparaging this morning, do not neglect the discussion venues around the net that give the globally disgruntled a chance to vent. In Campaign Asia-Pacific, for example, a frustrated shopper and a freelancer recruiter grouse about Ikea's tight-fistedness in totally separate but somehow related posts. But whaddaya want from a marketer that makes a virtue of carpooling to its stores?

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