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Unböring - IKEA's Unboring Campaign PDF Print E-mail

In 2003, IKEA's launched Unböring - a multi-faceted campaign that consisted of a Clio Award-winning commercial directed by Spike Jonze, the website, The Unboring Manifesto that was distributed late 2002 in shelter and trend magazines such as Dwell, Metropolis, and Wallpaper, print ads, outdoor billboards and wildpostings and several live events .  But was it really unboring?  You be the judge...


The Unböring Manifesto 


Consider that the average North American will have in their lifetime 9 watches, 7 cars, 5 jobs, 4 homes, 3 dogs, 2.5 cats, 1.5 spouses – and only 1.5 dining room tables.  That is the challenge faced by IKEA, according to Christian Mathieu, External Marketing Manager, IKEA US/Canada, "to tap into the feelings and emotions that people have about their furniture." 

In a year long multi-media and interactive campaign that began in 2002, IKEA sought to free Americans from their attachments to old furniture.  The campaign encouraged people to get rid of old, sad furniture and bring in fresh new items - preferably IKEA.

Unboring Print Campaign

10 million copies of IKEA's Mini Book, The Unböring Manifesto went out in trendy shelter and fashion magazines such as dwell, Metropolis and Wallpaper beginning in September 2002, providing instruction on, "the importance of the unböring lifestyle, the history of IKEA and anecdotal stories about select designs in the IKEA product range that have been created in a definite unböring and unique fashion," according to the official IKEA press release.

Products featured included the PS VAGO easy chair, the OPPALA easy chair, the MESOSFAR pendant lamp, the LILLEHAMMER queen size bed frame, the PS Tealight holder and GLIMMA tealights, the PS Vallo watering can, the PS TUNO clock, the LACK wall shelf, the ILAN trolley table/TV bench, the DANBO sofa bed, and the SANLA STJARNA wall lamp. 

Additional print ads appeared in magazines such as InStyle,  Vibe, Comsopolitan and Real Simple.

Outdoor Campaign

Wildpostings comprised a portion of the campaign, including the posting of free gift wrap. See reaction to this unusual print campaign here: IKEA puts a paper chase in motion  Billboards with actual IKEA furnishings attached to oversized price tags ran in major markets such as Washington D.C., Los Angeles, Philadelphia, Baltimore, Pittsburgh and Chicago.  Of note was the exclusion of the franchise markets (Houston, San Diego and Seattle)  in all of the Unboring campaign target marketing.

unboring.gifTelevision Commercials 

The campaign was perhaps best known for the irreverant commercials - the most well-known of which was directed by Spike Jonze and won the ad agency, Crispin Porter + Bogusky a Clio award.  Watch the video of 'LAMP' (This is Because You Are Crazy) here:   IKEA's Lamp Commercial directed by Spike Jonze.

In another spot which was banned in the US market, a man and a woman knock a cow shaped milk pitcher to the floor while locked in a passionate kiss over the kitchen table.  A swedish man riding a bicycle glances in the window, then says, “Right now, you feel sad for the moo cow milker. That is because you are crazy. This woman knows tacky items can easily be replaced with better IKEA.”  IKEA's Moo Cow Milker Commercial banned in the US

A third commercial shows a couple who, bored to death, don't realize they've been buried alive.  As they dig themselves out of their underground tomb, they find they have an IKEA in their back yard (top yard?).  IKEA's Bored to Death Commercial

Interactive Campaign

Unboring Website & Unboring Community

Along with the Unboring website was an Unboring community - a place to get tips and share advice with others about IKEA products.  The format was very structured, and though it's hard to say from what little evidence remains on the web, it is believed to have been heavily moderated and the content strictly controlled.