Brave new Ikea adverts break the rulebook

Ikea advert
(Image credit: Ikea)

One of the first rules of marketing is to show the product as a solution to a problem, but we know that Ikea adverts have a habit of doing things differently. This new campaign has turned the usual formula on its head, and it works wonderfully.

It takes a brave brand to admit that its products sometimes aren't the solution. But in these Ikea adverts, that strategy works to the brand's credit by focusing on its supportive role rather than by trying to pretend it's the star (see our pick of the best print adverts for more inspiration).

The campaign shows Ikea furniture abandoned in the background as children favour being closer to mum or dad, while Ikea declares itself "proudly second best". Now, calling yourself "second best" isn't exactly the epitome of humility, especially when you're comparing yourself to parents. But humble brag aside, the clever campaign succeeds in putting the focus on the customer while still drawing attention to the product.

It maintains Ikea's clean minimalism while showing products in real contexts that many parents will recognise, highlighting children's need to bond. And of course, it reminds us that Ikea's products are economical enough to play second fiddle.

It's certainly getting a huge amount of love on Twitter. "As a dad, this is SO FREAKING ACCURATE," one person said, while several have commended Ikea's bravery for showing its products going unused, describing it as a "brand with balls". Some people say they were moved to tears.

The campaign is the work of DAVID Madrid and INGO Hamburg, and it was made for the Al-Futtaim IKEA in the United Arab Emirates. It follows in a long line of creative Ikea campaigns, which recently included a savvy MTV cribs parody for today's cash-strapped times.

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Joseph Foley

Joe is a regular freelance journalist and editor at Creative Bloq. He writes news and features, updates buying guides and keeps track of the best equipment for creatives, from monitors to accessories and office supplies. A writer and translator, he also works as a project manager at London and Buenos Aires-based design, production and branding agency Hermana Creatives, where he manages a team of designers, photographers and video editors who specialise in producing photography, video content, graphic design and collaterals for the hospitality sector. He enjoys photography, particularly nature photography, wellness and he dances Argentine tango.