Design Champions: IKEA

25.11.16

Lauren Bennett

Senior Research Executive

Categories General

My Design Champion is IKEA – consistently one of my favourite brands, they’ve really impressed me with their recent pro-social stunt 25m² of Syria

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.

Via IKEA
Via IKEA’s iconic red labels, shoppers donate to support Red Cross’s work in Syria

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.