IKEA is launching a multi-million dollar, multi-component brand campaign designed to highlight the importance of home in America. The retailer launched its “Home is the Most Important Place in the World” campaign in late September, with a press event at Cedar Lakes Studio and Theatre in Manhattan.
To convey the idea of home and the comforts therein, the retailer transformed the theatre with residential touches. IKEA sofas and loveseats filled the audience floor. Caterers, clad in pajamas, walked the floor with such comfort food offerings as peanut butter and jelly, milkshakes, and macaroni and cheese. Refrigerators complete with family drawings, post-its and take-out menus, were placed off to the side. They were stocked with milk, water and soda. And bowls of popcorn were placed throughout the room so attendees could snack throughout the presentation.
Actress/comedian Amy Sedaris, who is also the author of “I Like You: Hospitality Under The Influence,” kicked off the event with amusing anecdotes about her own home life.
Amy Sedaris kicked off IKEA's new campaign by sharing stories about her own home life.
“I love being at home,” Sedaris said. “In fact, I offered to host tonight’s event from my home over a phone patch, but they won’t let me do that.”
Sedaris lives in her Greenwich Village apartment with her rabbit Dusty. “My entire apartment was designed around her,” she joked. “I chose paint colors based on their names alone, like ‘straw,’ ‘dandelion green,’ ‘carrot orange,’ ‘green leaf’ and ‘marsh brown.’ I also live with my imaginary boyfriend Ricky, who can sometimes be distant and transparent.”
Sedaris said she loves to entertain at her home “because I believe it is a place to share. The most important part of my home is that it is an extension of me,” she added. “It tells my story in pictures. Home means comfort.”
Attendees sat on IKEA sofas and chairs that were later donated to charity.
At the event, IKEA revealed results from a recent poll conducted to learn more about the attitudes, feeling and habits about American households. These results helped shape the new campaign, according to Pernille Lopez, president, IKEA North America.
“[This] campaign isn't about bricks and mortar, or real estate value,” Lopez said. "We intend to bring to life the understanding that home is more than an address; it's a secure place where we can celebrate our lives and embrace family and friends."
“This research has given us an incredible insight and ability to provide people with furnishing solutions to make their everyday life at home easier,” Lopez continued. “By launching our first national-brand campaign with such magnitude and such a strong opinion, we hope to raise awareness and discussion about the topic.”
About 94% of those polled believe home is the most important place in the world. This finding, according to Lopez, speaks to the heart of the IKEA brand campaign.
To add to the "home" allure, comfort food was served and drinks were kept in refrigerators.
The new brand campaign includes a short documentary film, “America at Home,” which follows seven U.S. families throughout their daily activities (available for viewing at ikea.com), and a new TV commercial, in 30 and 60 second formats, that illustrates the great diversity of lifestyle home options across the globe. Television, outdoor, online and cinema advertising will support the campaign.
Additionally, the campaign includes a large-format photo book, “America at Home,” featuring home photos by professional and amateur photographers around the country. It will be available in March 2008.
Lopez also detailed two initiatives IKEA at the event, the first of which involves the issue of family homelessness.
“We will work with the alliances and organizations in our local communities to insure that children who are being re-housed will have a warm, clean bed,” Lopez said. “And for older children, a place to study. We will pilot this program this year and roll it out to all IKEA U.S markets in the following year.”
The second initiative is with IKEA’s long-time partner Save the Children.