IKEA explores the dual meaning of ‘make yourself at home’

The retailer's new campaign shows how simple design choices can shape who we become.

IKEA Make Yourself At Home (1)

IKEA is continuing to reimagine people’s relationship with the home by showing how it can guide a person’s growth and provide inspiration for who they want to be.

In “Make Yourself, At Home,” everyday household objects – and IKEA products -–like easels, watering cans and lamps are revealed to unlock the potential of future graphic designers, gardeners and children’s book authors.

“We know through our extensive research and experience as a global leader in life at home that home is much more than the four walls of our spaces, it’s a place that shapes who we are and who we can become,” says Johanna Andrén, head of marketing, IKEA Canada.

Andrén tells strategy that its creative approach is to always start with a story and the insight. “And then, when we are a bit further with the storytelling, and the creative, we find products [to suit it].”

The move is informed by brand insights that 60% of Canadians have made changes to their homes since the onset of the pandemic to better meet their evolving needs. But while transforming the home might be top of mind for more people lately, Andrén adds that the concept is timeless and it would’ve likely used this approach regardless of whether there was a global pandemic.

A key insight also driving the campaign is its simplicity and not overcomplicating things, Andrén says, starting off with a young girl at an easel and then that having an idea ripple effect. Another focus was that inspiration can strike at any time, hence different people realizing their dreams at different life stages, like the older author (below) transforming a story he’d read to his grandkids, into a successful children’s book.

IKEA Make Yourself At Home-book-author

The three stories flow from one to another quite seamlessly in what looks like one long take, a storytelling approach the retailer used previously with its “One Little Thing” campaign, in which small sustainable actions can have an outsized environmental impact

In February, IKEA Canada announced it would open a Planning Studio in the Montreal suburbs in 2022. The first Canadian location for the global retail concept, the Planning Studio will not have any products available for sale on site, but provides expert planners who can consult with customers about designing rooms in their home, accessing IKEA’s catalog through digital platforms and a limited selection of display products on-site.

Since the fall, IKEA has also been opening Design Centres. Similar to the Planning Studio, the concepts are slightly smaller, fit into mall and shopping centres near established IKEA pick-up locations and are meant to be short-term, and will be open for a period of 12 to 18 months. New Design Centres locations in Barrie and Windsor opening this month will bring the total number of locations in Ontario to eight.

The spot, by AOR Rethink, is coming to life through conventional TV, digital, social and in-store. Carat is behind the media buy, while Wunderman Thompson assisted with loyalty communications. Ad spend is in line with past efforts.