IKEA reuses a classic spot

A sequel to one of the retailer's best-known ads brings support to its sustainability programs.

IKEA Canada has been communicating a better future in the year-old “Beautiful Possibilities” platform, but its newest ad demonstrates what it’s doing to help the world get there.

In 2002, the retailer worked with CP+B and director Spike Jonze to create a spot called “Lamp.” The emotional ad was crafted to generate sympathy from the audience, showing an older lamp discarded at the curb in the rain and looking into its old home to see its previous owner’s new lamp. The twist comes at the very end, when Swedish spokesman Jonas lets viewers know they are “crazy” for feeling bad for the lamp, as it has no feelings and the new lamp is much better.

The spot was extremely well-received and picked up numerous awards, including the Film Grand Prix at Cannes.

But IKEA’s priorities have shifted in the 16 years since that spot aired. In June, the retailer unveiled its “People + Planet” strategy, which outlined a number of environmental and sustainability goals it will maintain between now and 2030, such as eliminating all single-use plastics from its restaurant. But it also included a commitment to becoming a “circular” business by 2030, meaning its products will be built to last longer, using fully recyclable or sustainable materials in their construction. It also means creating programs that allow its products to have a second life, such as actively supporting second-hand marketplaces, like Kijiji.

To support those global goals within Canada, a new ad debuted today in which a young girl picks up a red lamp from the curb that bears a striking resemblance to the one from the 2002 spot. It also starts with the same sombre music, but it shifts to be more optimistic as the girl puts a new IKEA LED bulb in the lamp. By doing so, she gives light to activities ranging from creating shadow puppets to reading to playing board games. Jonas then reappears at the end of the ad, telling the audience that feeling happy for the lamp isn’t crazy, as reusing things is “much better.”

Rethink, IKEA’s AOR in Canada, created the new ad. The retailer’s broader sustainability initiatives are also being supported with out-of-home ads, as well as an official partnership with Kijiji to help customers find new homes for their IKEA products.

IKEA Canada and Rethink launched the “Beautiful Possibilities” brand platform last year, putting the focus on building the kind of world we want to live in, with the retailer’s products taking a less prominent role and having a subtle presence in the ads. Sustainability has been one of several “possibilities” the retailer has included in its new platform, alongside things like diversity and the struggles some families face, on top of more traditional spots that show the impact of IKEA products on day-to-day moments.

To address the climate change side of its environmental goals, IKEA recently turned off the air conditioning for one day at a store in Vaughan, raising its temperate by four degrees – the same amount that global temperatures are expected to rise if emission levels continue to increase. Customer reactions were captured in an online video that was recently released, which also serves to disseminate in-store signage tips on reducing emissions on a daily basis.