IKEA finds the silver lining in staying home

The second spot launched under the retailer's new head of marketing combines snippets of its global and Canadian ads.


In January, Johanna Andrén arrived in Canada from Sweden. Within six months, the new Canadian head of marketing at IKEA had experienced first-hand the message at the heart of the furniture retailer’s new brand spot, “Home Lessons.”

Andrén, a former marketer at IKEA Sweden, says physical distancing has proven challenging at times; meetings with new colleagues turned into video chats a mere three months into the job. Her children, aware of their native country’s less restrictive approach to the pandemic, grew bored. But for all the hard times, she says the situation also “sparked new possibilities”: how else would she have learned to cut her children’s hair?

Like Andrén, “Home Lessons” attempts to put the world’s struggles into perspective.

The spot, led by Rethink (with Carat on media), enumerates the lessons learned at home these past several months, from how to change scenery by rearranging decor to how to trim bangs and “welcome tomorrow.” It all happens under a cover of “The Middle” by Jimmy Eat World, with its course repeating the line “everything will be alright.”

Due to production limitations, IKEA Canada and Rethink worked with counterparts in five other countries – Belgium, Italy, Switzerland, the U.K. and Greece, as well as its global creative team – to stitch together snippets of other well-known IKEA commercials.

Canada has a strong presence in the ad, with scenes from the “Bottled,” “Magic Man,” “Wonderful World” (all by Rethink) and “Make Every Second Count” (by Leo Burnett) campaigns all making an appearance. The work of global shops represented include “Skate” (DDB Brussels), “Silence the Critics” (Mother London), “#RipartiamoDaCasa” (DDB Group Italy) and “Make Room for Life” (ACNE/IKEA Creative Hub).

As many parts of the world continue to reopen, the brand believed a forward-looking and optimistic message was needed, says Andrén. While many people have faced (and continue to face) loneliness and financial uncertainty, the pandemic has provided an opportunity to reflect and spend “more time with people that you love,” she says.

It’s the second campaign the marketer has led locally since taking over from former head of marketing Lauren MacDonald, who was promoted to global head of marketing communications for IKEA roughly one year ago. In April, the company debuted “Make the Most of Home,” a campaign based on work first aired in Spain.

The spot suggests KEA can help people turn a living room into a home office or help kids complete their online classes, at a time when homes were the most important – and often only – place to be. While other marketing was planned to go live at that time, Andrén says it would have been “inappropriate to go too tactical and commercial” in the early stages of the pandemic.

Andrén, who helped develop the “Where Life Happens” platform for IKEA Sweden, says she has no intentions of shifting Canadian marketing away from “Beautiful Possibilities,” the Rethink-led platform launched under MacDonald in 2017. “We will continue this journey,” she says. “We have a strong, emotional brand concept. We will certainly develop it.”

However, she says the company is locally focused on making communications even more relevant to customers. To that end, the Canadian team has grown as it looks to add competencies in creating more “digital and personalized communication.”

“If you are planning to renovate your kitchen, you don’t want us to communicate around our new sofa range, and if you have a new member in your family, you might be interested to know more about children’s solutions at IKEA.”