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IKEA takes a road trip and puts it online

April 4, 2014

IKEA is hitting the road. Well, five of its employees are anyway. As part of a yearlong event known as the "IKEA Home Tour," the workers will visit families across the U.S. to make over their homes with items sold by the chain. The event will be featured on the company's YouTube video page.

"We believe that people can do simple things that make a big difference to make life at home better," said Julie Foor, IKEA Home Tour project manager, in a statement. "With the tour, we're tackling home challenges that are universal, so there are smart ideas and inspirational tips from the makeovers that can be helpful for anyone."

[Image: IKEA Home Tour]

Consumers who want their homes made over can apply by submitting videos. The company has already found homes in Atlanta, but is currently seeking submissions from Charlotte (submission period ends 4/25), Baltimore/D.C. (ends 5/2), Philadelphia (5/5-6/6) and New York (6/2-7/6).

According to a New York Times report, the digital campaign promoting the tour will account for one to two percent of IKEA's media budget (up to $2.4 million). Social media will feature heavily in the effort, particularly Instagram and Twitter.

Discussion Questions:

Will IKEA's Home Tour be a success for the chain? How would you compare this campaign to traditional methods of advertising?

While we value unfettered opinion, we urge you to show respect and courtesy for people or companies about whom you comment. Keep in mind that this is a public, professional business discussion. RetailWire reserves the right to edit or refuse the publication of remarks that we deem unsuitable. We may also correct for unintended spelling and grammatical errors.

Instant Poll:

Will IKEA's Home Tour be more effective as a branding campaign or as a sales promotion vehicle?


This is a novel, attention-getting approach. IKEA will spend a small fraction of its overall media budget demonstrating how its products can be used to completely decorate a home. The company will primarily use YouTube and social media, which should appeal to Millennials. Now if they could just help consumers navigate their way through IKEA stores more quickly....

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Max Goldberg, President, Max Goldberg & Associates

This concept falls squarely in the realm of experiential marketing. To me, it's a low budget version of the plethora of home makeover reality shows. There's nothing wrong with that - in fact, my guess is that their demographic is more likely to watch a makeover on YouTube than on commercial TV. When you add in the social aspects and shareability, I think it will provide a good ROI and increased goodwill for them.

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Ken Lonyai, Digital Innovation Strategist, co-founder, ScreenPlay InterActive

I've found that IKEA is willing to do a lot of experimentation when it comes to advertising. I get SMS catalogs from them, interactive digital ads, you name it. So this is interesting to me because while the campaign is itself a stand-alone thing, it will also create an awful lot of content that IKEA can use in a bunch of other places. I definitely like that they feel they have the freedom to place this million-dollar-plus bet and see how it plays out.

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Nikki Baird, Managing Partner, RSR Research

Great idea to reach their target market at a relatively low cost. I was recently in a meeting where two large CPG companies were discussing how to market to Millennials. One of their comments was the Millennials are reality show watchers. IKEA's YouTube marketing effort will provide provides this result without the cost of sponsoring a TV show.

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Steve Montgomery, President, b2b Solutions, LLC

This will be another win for IKEA. Consumers really enjoy the transformation stories with real-life consumers. They connect well with their shoppers.

Anne Bieler, Sr. Associate, Packaging and Technology Integrated Solutions

I think that IKEA has a challenge and that is to make their home improvement tour stand out from videos available through Home Depot and self appointed educators.

Their success will be measured by how many consumers will now consider IKEA when designing, planning and renovating. Among my group of friends and relatives, I think IKEA lags behind in terms of awareness of the possibilities of products and services the retailer offers. And this new approach can be helpful. At the same time, I'd be concerned about the limitations on reach, something a solid media plan can overcome.

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Joan Treistman, President, The Treistman Group LLC

Right on target! Since I am one of those folks who spends countless hours watching HGTV, this is just the kind of thing that gets my interest. My bathroom needs a makeover and I would never think of IKEA for that. After watching one of their shows, I just might. And if it looks easy, I am already there!

Great move for my 2 cents.

Lee Kent, Sharing Insights for Success in Retail, YourRetailAuthority

This is related to the Magalogs and Brand as Publisher (Brand as Broadcaster in this case) trend that we discussed her on RetailWire earlier this week. This project is a great fit for their brand and YouTube is an effective channel to reach their target demographic. This should succeed, especially with a well executed campaign to amplify it across multiple social channels (including paid social). I wouldn't be surprised if they end up with some great content that they then re-use in traditional media channels like TV and radio.

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Martin Mehalchin, Partner, Lenati, LLC

Facebook is the Internet's very own storybook land with millions and millions of visitors all day every day. IKEA's plan to use this multimedia platform for what it does best will almost certainly get a lot of support from their target market. Using Facebook as a place where the market can be directed to watch and learn how to make modern decisions and improvements is exactly what companies should do with this modern marketing format. Well done IKEA!


Once again, semantics. With IKEA free to define "success" as it wishes, you can be darn sure it will be called successful (whatever the outcome).

On a more thoughtful level, IKEA is one of those companies that finds itself in the happy position of already being a household name, so the point of promotion is to make sure it stays that way. Will this work? Too early to tell.


The IKEA Home Tour is an appropriate campaign for the company to broaden brand visibility in an approachable, fun and humanizing way. I see it playing well across IKEA's social media properties and becoming a bit of a viral success, provided the messaging amplifies the IKEA brand voice and personality.

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Jeff Hall, President, Second To None

The idea will create a great buzz and contribute to IKEA's reputation as a home furnishings problem solver.

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Jerry Gelsomino, Principal, FutureBest

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