Ikea is the world's biggest furniture retailer, as well as arguably its most successful privately owned brand. Founder Ingvar Kamprad took the affordable design revolution of the 1960s and 1970s and made it a worldwide phenomenon. As of 2021, the Swedish retailer now offers its "affordable solutions for better living" through a total of 445 stores in 60 countries. New markets for 2021 include Slovenia, Mexico and the Philippines. The global network welcomed a combined total of 1bn visitors through its doors in 2019, and Ikea's cleanly designed, space-conscious furniture units, as well a bewildering array of accessories from kitchenware to candles, can be found in well over a billion homes and offices around the globe. According to the New Yorker, one out of every 10 Europeans is conceived in an Ikea bed. From flat-pack boxes to self-service warehouses, from the Swedish cafeteria to its miniature free wooden pencils and measuring tape, even the Ikea shopping experience has a unique style all of its own, with customer service stripped out almost entirely. Ikea customers traditionally serve themselves, then assemble the products themselves at home. In most countries, they also have to cart the huge, heavy flat-pack boxes home themselves as well since delivery is not an intrinsic part of the Ikea service. Yet even this most utilitarian of retailers has felt the pressures from online competition and the shift towards ecommerce. The Covid pandemic created further pressure in 2020, with combined group sales falling from the previous year's high of €41.3bn to €39.6bn for the year to Aug 2020. In perhaps the most notable change in recent history, the group announced plans to cease publication of its annual printed catalogue after 70 years. At its peak in 2016, more than 200m copies were produced in more than 30 languages. However, with the shift towards digital accelerating, the 2021 edition of the catalogue will be Ikea's last, at least in its familiar form. Ikea's founder Ingvar Kamprad died in 2018. Almost 30 years earlier, in order to resolve the question of succession among his three sons, he transferred control of most of Ikea's retail operations into a charitable foundation. This business now operates as Ingka Group, main operator of the Ikea brand and its biggest store owner by far with around 380 outlets. Jesper Brodin is CEO. Around 11 independent franchisees operate the remaining outlets between them. However, the Ikea concept itself is owned separately by Inter Ikea Holding, itself privately owned by the Interogo Foundation in Lichtenstein. Inter Ikea in turn franchises the business to other entities that operate stores. Jon Abrahamsson Ring is CEO of Inter Ikea.
Capsule checked 26th March 2021
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Historical profile information for Ikea
Adbrands Daily Update 6th Apr 2021: "Our Little World". What *did* we do before CGI? The latest campaign from indie Canadian powerhouse Rethink for Ikea offers a breath-taking masterclass in creative imagination, positing a collection of different individual worlds, each inhabited by a different household. Not just humans: bees and birds get their own distinct worlds too. It's a stunning idea, executed brilliantly. A special mention for digital effects house A52 who delivered the finished result. And like all of Ikea's marketing around the globe, it has a powerful message to make about sustainability and envoironmental awareness. Ikea Canada's head of marketing Johanna Andren says "We wanted to show that sustainability and positive change is still possible with small actions taken at home, while acknowledging the shared experiences and challenges of the last year, and really celebrating the way communities have come together to face them." Stunning.
Adbrands Daily Update 25th Feb 2021: Linus Karlsson - arguably Sweden's most famous creative director - has crossed the tracks to join Ikea with the title of chief creative officer of range and marketing & communications. It's a newly created role, virtually unique among major marketers, giving Karlsson oversight of product development as well as marketing. "Product development and communications are overlapping more and more," said Karlsson in a statement. "Collaboration in all forms is definitely a way forward. It's not good for things to be siloed." Karlsson has had a starry career agency-side, a past chief creative officer at Fallon, at Mother, at McCann Worldgroup for six years and most recently at Crispin Porter & Bogusky. However he departed the latter in 2018 and has been working since then as a consultant and lecturer at Stockholm University.
Adbrands Daily Update 25th Feb 2021: "Always Room For Change". In developed markets like the UK or US we don't tend to pay too much attention to advertising from Arabic markets. It's certainly the case that a large proportion of creative output from that region is pretty standard, but there are regular exceptions to the rule that are as good or better than anything in the West. The local Leo Burnett network is a good example of a regular over-achiever, and here's a very entertaining campaign for Ikea in Saudi Arabia that borrows the styling of a Sims creation to demonstrate the ways in which the furniture store's products adapt to every life stage from cradle to grave. Must have been just as much fun to design as it is to watch. Better still, the individual room sets have also been honeycombed together, 36 at a time, to create vast poster displays hanging instore.
Adbrands Daily Update 5th Jan 2021: "Fortune Favours The Frugal". Many things about 2021 are likely to be different. One of them, Ikea and their UK agency Mother are hoping, will be an even greater push towards sustainability and environmental awareness. That has spawned a splendidly cinematic and suitably anti-apocalyptic spot in which the earth is saved from a rubbish meteor by waste-conscious consumers. Hoorah! Seventies soul outfit The Barons take what is already a great ad and do what it says on the record label with their Northern Soul classic 'Making It Better'
Adbrands Daily Update 5th Oct 2020: "One Little Thing". Trust Ikea to take the trouble to spend big bucks on a full blown campaign just to promote a $2.99 light bulb. Only of course there's so much more to it than that: the light bulb is just the symbol of a much bigger push towards efficient energy and green living. Ikea Canada's long time local agency Rethink, one of the country's last big independents, pulls out all the stops for a lovely ad that wears its technological wizardry lightly and modestly. It might look simple, but we'd bet this took days to pull off, even with the cleverly disguised cuts that make several separate sequences appear to blend into one single tracking shot.
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