2017 EFFIE Award Preview: Find Your Style 101

Category: Media Effie: Media Idea

Client: IKEA

Agency: MEC Global 

Title: Find Your Style 101

Challenge: College is all about discovery: new knowledge, new friends and the chance to express a new personal style. However, when it comes to furniture and furnishings, most brand communications focus on helping students find low-cost products rather than helping them find their style. Against this context, we were given the dual challenge of improving IKEA’s perception as a back-to-college (BTC) retailer and driving increased visitation during the highly competitive BTC period.

Solution: An empty dorm room is more than a space to fill with a bed, a desk and a set of drawers; it’s the first space we truly own, a blank canvas for self-expression. Consumer research on the student target revealed that this search to find and express a new style is informed more by peer recommendation than brand advertising.



These insights led us to a fresh approach: Find Your Style 101. Using media to help students discover and express their style.

To bring the idea to life we turned to the tried and tested format of a college course:

Working with HerCampus, we created a pop quiz that assessed students’ personality and matched them with one of IKEA’s back to college style guides, pairing great designs with affordable prices. Consumers were encouraged to share their results on social and visit a shoppable list on

We selected a pair of influencers to become “Style Professors,” imparting style advice based on IKEA products. Each professor was teamed up with a student to help them furnish their dorm room, a process captured through video and 360-degree photos, and promoted through paid and organic social posts.

Next, we sought to demonstrate the ease of IKEA through native “online seminars.” Partnering with HYPEBEAST, these consisted of a video tutorial, article and product list for three looks: The Sneakerhead, The Musician and The Artist. Each video included step-by-step tips on how to achieve the featured look. 

We also rewarded those that took action by monitoring the performance of IKEA’s BTC Pinterest board and selecting a handful of lucky students to be rewarded with ‘extra credit’ for saving our pins. Their prize: a product featured in the pin.

Results: The report card for our campaign showed success for all the metrics that matter:

Those taking the Pop Quiz spent 4x longer with the content than the publisher’s average. The Style Professors were also a hit, resulting in an engagement rate 4% points higher than the campaign benchmark. The Sneakerhead Online Seminar went viral, achieving over 1.6MM video views, and became HYPEBEAST’s 10th most viewed video of all time.

Engagement with these pieces of content led to consumers seeing IKEA differently: the proportion regarding IKEA as ‘having many styles of furniture’ and being ‘for people like me’ both rose significantly year-on-year.

Most importantly of all, we saw tangible business results with increases in first-time visitation as well as a year-on-year sales uplift for the products featured in the style guides. Straight A’s indeed.

Effie Awards are known by advertisers and agencies globally as the pre-eminent award in the marketing industry and recognize any and all forms of communication that contribute to a brand's success. Gold, silver and bronze Effie winners will be announced at the 2017 North American Effie Awards gala on June 1 in New York.

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