IKEA: How IKEA got over itself and became happy inside (or cultural integration in three easy-assemble steps)

Jacob Wright
Mother Advertising Ltd


Over the last 25 years IKEA has built a successful business in the UK, much as it has in most of the world, by sticking to a successful formula. As with most confident, global brands, it has tended to communicate “brand-centrically” - by stating what it is, but doing so in the local language.

In 2010 cultural and economic shifts in the UK created a very difficult environment for IKEA and one in which it seemed IKEA's fundamental identity might be becoming less relevant.

Received wisdom has it that ‘consumer-insight’ advertising is bland and lifestyle-y, and that ‘brand’ planning must start with the brand. We rejected this model and sought to create a campaign and an identity for IKEA much closer to the UK consumer - in effect seducing them by showing we understood both their needs and their vernacular.