Design Champions: IKEA
Senior Research Executive
IKEA is essentially the Marmite of retail – you either love the adventure of its labyrinthine showrooms and find glee in the art of wrestling flatpack furniture into your three-door car, or you hate it and will avoid the experience at all costs.
I’ve always been a big advocate of everything IKEA. And recently, IKEA did something to make me love it even more. The brand took a brave step to remind shoppers that not everyday is as ‘wonderful’ as their ad campaigns suggest, not for everyone.
‘25m² of Syria’ isn’t a showroom that you’d expect to find in your local store. The space, rather than promoting an aspirational inner-city studio apartment, transports shoppers to Syria – to meet Rana.
Rana lives in Damascus with her family of nine. Their true story is one of fear; of fleeing from their family home, of struggling to get by without money for suitable accommodation or even mattresses, blankets or clothes.
It’s a startling and sobering reminder for shoppers, that while we’re seeking the perfect Scandic-Modern open-plan living arrangement, there are countless families like Rana’s struggling to survive.
’25m² of Syria’ is a best in class example of pro-social marketing. IKEA has prioritised a social issue over commercial gain – by forcing shoppers to consider the reality of warn-torn suffering and poverty, they risk a loss in sales as shoppers accept they’re lucky to have a home at all.
I’m thrilled that as frenzied shopping events – like today’s Black Friday – send consumers into orbit, there are brands like IKEA to keep us grounded.