Abigail’s Party returns: Great IKEA marketing invites dodgy design

The reality of ‘brave’ design

I have always been fascinated by IKEA from a marketing perspective. They are so huge and so ubiquitous that the constant challenge for them (above and beyond making people aware of the latest ranges and promotions) must be how to get people to redocorate their already IKEA infected homes with more IKEA stuff. I still remember St. Luke’s ‘way of IKEA’ campaign from years ago where a tattooed Swede explained brand values to IKEA staff and Nordic thugs suggested people buy more towels. Fun, stylish and well filmed I thought they were superb and slightly mitigated the pain of visiting the place.  Then Karmarama came on the account with their ‘Shlomp’ day-glo populism and I felt very ill so checked out the alternatives (Dwell, Heal’s when there is a sale, proper vintage 20th C. design for IKEAish prices on eBay) when I could.  IKEA is still a part of my life as they are responsible for the tardy and awkward bits of our kitchen, but that’s another story….

So – been noticing this ‘Be Brave, Not Beige’campaign which employs print, online and probably TV etc.  It appears to be everywhere – there is even some big outdoor work near Trafalgar Square.  It seems to be based round the idea that an interesting life (and interesting person) requires very loud, postmodern 70s style textiles and colours in the home.  Now it is clever because it does not ask the punters to do much except put some technicolor vomit-like throw over an chair and smile.  Of course when you actually go to IKEA (a very stressful and unexpectedly expensive experience) you will buy other things too.  Clever, clever. 

However, a vortex of dubious taste that will date faster than sushi left in the sun will only give more style conscious folk something to laugh at (and more suggested redecorations from IKEA’s marketers) now and in the future. 


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