Shopper Innovation Awards: Ikea schools Winnipeggers

The Grand Prix goes to the furniture retailer for creating a program to teach folks in the city about how to shop at its store.

Gold: Custom Retail
Gold: Integration
Gold: Original Idea

With its walkthrough showroom, cafeteria, market and self-serve warehouse, Ikea stores are unique. But for those who have never visited the Swedish furniture retailer before, the shopping experience can be daunting.

When Ikea opened its first store in Winnipeg in November 2012, only 17% of Winnipeggers were aware of the brand. The nearest Ikea was more than 2,000 km away, so the vast majority weren’t familiar with its layout.

The retailer needed to ensure locals understood the Ikea shopping concept, because big crowds during the opening week could mean chaos and negative first impressions if consumers didn’t know how to shop the store.

Working with Leo Burnett and Jungle Media, the retailer launched the “Learn Ikea” campaign to educate people about the brand. For the six weeks leading up to opening day, Winnipeg was turned into a virtual classroom.

The campaign began with “Learn Ikea” handbooks, sent to homes across the city. The book was covered with crib notes and educated readers about the Ikea story, from its history to its style to the meals in its restaurant.

Newspaper, OOH, ambient and digital ads featured interactive lessons, and local TV and radio spots invited Winnipeggers to take quizzes and demonstrate their growing knowledge of Ikea for the chance to win gift cards. They were introduced to the iconic Ikea Allen Key with a portable vending machine that travelled the city, inviting people to use the key to unlock Ikea food products and gift cards.

In addition, Twitter and Facebook posts asked consumers questions about the retailer, showed behind-the-scene content and generated buzz for the vending machine as it moved around the city.

Sales and conversion results for the store surpassed those at store openings in much larger markets, with the average checkout volume exceeding the target by 22%.


Chief Creative Officer: Judy John
Creative Directors: Judy John, Lisa Greenberg
Digital Associate Creative Director: Ian Kay
Copywriter: Steve Persico
Art Director: Anthony Chelvanathan
Designers: Trong Nguyen, Graham Bowman
Illustrator: Trong Nguyen
Agency Producers: Anne Peck, David Eades
Director, Creative Technology: Felix Wardene
Web/Flash Developers: Chad Elston, Henry Chi
Developer: David Freedman
Digital Producer: Thomas Degez
Account Executive: Kristin Meier
Account Supervisor: Allison Tang
Group Account Director: Natasha Dagenais
SVP Account Management Group: David Kennedy
Director, Strategic Planning: Dustin Rideout
Social Media Planner: Heather Morrison
VP. Media Connection Planning Brooke Leland
Media Broadcast Planners: Brooke Leland, Krystal Seymour
Media Non Broadcast Planners: Brooke Leland, Janet Xi