The Real Reason Ikea’s New Canadian Ad Is Brilliant

What matters more behind an ad, great creative or business-driven marketing? Of course both are necessary in a strong ad campaign, but business-driven service design will always shine through. Ikea proved this with its recent sequel to its 2002 red lamp ad campaign featuring an anthropomorphized lamp left sadly abandoned on the curb because it had been replaced with a brand new Ikea lamp.

This recent article published in The Globe & Mail emphasizes the creative production behind the 2018 reboot. The detailed and crafted execution of this ad redux is important and no doubt skillful – but what makes the campaign truly meaningful is what Ikea did before the creative process began. This is business-led marketing at its best.

The depth of service design involved

Just on the heels of the “sad lamp” reboot – originally designed to get customers to throw out old goods and buy new ones – another Globe & Mail editorial, co-written by Ikea Head of Sustainability Brendan Seale - is the tell-tale for how important the cultural shift towards a “circular economy” is, not only to Ikea but to our country as a whole. With our society focusing more on longevity, renewability, reducing, reusing and recycling, Ikea has fully embraced this circular economical shift with new programs, like its buy-back initiative.

Deep audience research and listening revealed that approximately 12–14% of furniture being sold on buy-and-sell websites such as Kijiji and Craigslist is from Ikea. Ikea recognized that there is a huge after market for its furniture. In response to this finding, it has initiated a buy-back program wherein it will take back lightly used furniture in exchange for an Ikea gift card. The company then has the opportunity to engage with the customer again, to cross-sell products – like new sofa covers and parts – and to maintain engagement through the entire customer life cycle.

This initiative shows how valuable it is to invest in innovative ways to increase the depth of service design. This change in service design rested on deep insights from Ikea’s customers, social trends, the zeitgeist – expanding the full sense of the customer life cycle.

Business-driven marketing worked its magic

The first, more notable 2002 red lamp ad was driven by creative insight. However, the 2018 ad is business-driven marketing at its best.

This time around, Ikea’s service-design-based ad rested on deep insights from its customers and responded to social trends, the zeitgeist and the strength of its own mission, vision and values. That’s what makes it so strong and allows the creative execution to soar. It showcases a continued expression of Ikea’s brand promise and aligns with its customers’ wants, creating a message that truly lasts.

Today’s marketing world demands a deeper connection to core concepts of total service design, not just creative execution. In our web 4.0 world, there is a whole marketing ecosystem that if left untended will hurt businesses that need to continually adapt. Hats off to Ikea Canada for tuning in to its customers, gleaning important insights and – most importantly – responding through changing its service offering.

About Christine Saunders

Halmyre President Christine Saunders is a marketing consultant to service-based organizations, a strategic advisor to marketing executives and leaders, an entrepreneur and a hobby farmer. In 2014 she founded The Marketing Strategy Group, which has recently rebranded as Halmyre. Prior to this, Christine owned a traditional integrated marketing and communications agency specializing in financial services, public services and not-for-profits. Her education is in politics, ethics and philosophy, and she is a proud Maritimer despite living in Upper Canada today.

Christine Saunders