IKEA’s assembly instructions show how to make old things new again

In an extension of its "One Little Thing" campaign, the home furnishings retailer shows consumers how to upcycle some of its popular products.

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IKEA is continuing to find brand purpose in repurposing, building on its circular economy messaging with novel ways to keep its products from becoming trash.

Its “Repurposeful Instructions” campaign is based around a collection of 12 creative ideas using IKEA’s product assembly instructions, which show how to upcycle some of its popular items, like transforming old shopping bags into a hanging garden, for example, or even wooden cabinets into beehives.

“The Repurposeful Instructions campaign is another effort that offers new ways for customers to prolong the life of products and also embraces the energy and creativity that many bring to renewing and updating their favourite IKEA products,” says Ami Warrington, marketing communications specialist, IKEA Canada.

Warrington tells strategy that caring for the planet and sustainability are still key priorities for the brand, which remains focused on its ambition to become a fully circular business by 2030, aligned with UN sustainable development goals.

The campaign is an extension of March’s “One Little Thing” brand spot (below), currently running on TV, and the accompanying instructions is a focus of OOH, digital OOH and online video running across digital and social, as well as direct to members of its IKEA Family loyalty program, through the month of August.

The messaging amplifies the idea that little acts can have an outsized environmental impact, and builds on IKEA’s other recent efforts, including turning food scraps into meals, and phasing out all non-rechargeable alkaline batteries from its home furnishing range by October of this year.

“In the spirit of encouraging and empowering Canadians with simple, affordable solutions that can help them make a difference in their daily lives, we hope that Repurposeful Instructions appeals to creatives of any age and ability,” Warrington says.

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The circular economy in North America is a growing, multi-million dollar industry and Warrington says IKEA has seen “tremendous response” to its recently launched Sell Back Program – built around the notion that people feel weighed down by their stuff and are looking to declutter – and through which customers can apply to sell their gently used IKEA products back in exchange for an in-store credit.

The store’s “As-Is” departments are also being repurposed, in a way, reimagined as Circular Hubs in-store and online where consumers can find discontinued items and gently used products that have been thoroughly inspected.

Affordability and sustainability, Warrington says, remain top concerns for consumers across the country, and the upcycling ideas shared in this initiative are ideal for families and individuals curious about ways to extend the life of their IKEA products at home.

The campaign, devised with agency partner Rethink, is currently running until Aug. 31 and upcycle instructions are available online.