Ikea: we’ll work with the duopoly, but not at any cost

Between Facebook’s Cambridge Analytica scandal and Google’s brand safety crisis last year, the duopoly has been under closer scrutiny from the world’s largest advertisers. But as it launches a new ad campaign, Ikea’s UK marketing boss has said that eradicating the tech giants from media plans is not part of its strategy; though neither is working with them at any cost.

After Facebook was found to have left millions of users’ data exposed to exploitation by third-parties, some advertisers walked away. But, many – like Ikea – have not. In fact, analytics company 4C Insights estimated that in the two weeks following the news making headlines, ad spend grew on Facebook at 7% and 15% respectively.

Despite the scrutiny, Facebook, Instagram and YouTube will all sit at the heart of the Swedish furniture retailer’s latest advertising push, which launched today (16 April). A key element of the activity is a full-length music video which will run on YouTube and, for the first time, be used by the brand on Instagram Stories.

And though Ikea’s UK marketing manager is concerned by the headlines surrounding Facebook, it’s not proven problematic enough to pause media plans for this latest campaign.

“Data privacy is really important for us – we want to understand how the [Facebook] story develops. For us, it’s too early for us to say how it will evolve. It’s on all the news headlines so we’re looking at it seriously and really taking data privacy as an important topic,” Laurent Tiersen said, though he declined to reveal how its media has been split.

“At the moment – our media choices evolve constantly, they’re never set in stone. We want to be trusted; data privacy is important, and we need to take it seriously. We want to be where people are, on the most popular channels, but not at any cost. We’re looking at ways to be trusted and work in a personal and targeted way, but in the most transparent way too.”

Ikea consolidated its agency roster two years ago, retaining long-running indie agency Mother for creative and bringing its global media buying into two networks – WPP and Dentsu Aegis. More recently it combined, for the first time, its social media and CRM business with Omnicom’s Proximity London.

This campaign – which has focused on its textiles range – is one of the first to come since Ikea settled on three networks and Tiersen said though still in the early days, he’s confident the agency set up will deliver.

“From what I see in this campaign, it’s one of the best [since the agency reviews],” he said.

The ads will run across press, broadcast TV, cinema, digital and outdoor, with additional content on social and mobile, while a CRM campaign will target people on email with an online personality test, where the public are then able to find out what textiles suit them.

“Similar to previous campaigns, we’ve put a little bit of budget aside for experimentations – and the music video is that. We’ve collaborated with an indie band called Teleman for it,” he said. “We’re trying to surprise people where you don’t necessarily expect us.”

Looking at the year ahead, change could be on the horizon for Ikea’s marketing after the furniture retailer welcomed its new chief executive Jesper Brodin last September. Brodin has ushered in a three-year strategy that will see the company bring in full digital solutions to all and ramp up its plans to create more “showroom” stores in city centres.

Tiersen said its long-running ‘The Wonderful Everyday’ slogan was not quite finished, but hinted it may shake things up in 2019.

"We've had The Wonderful Everyday for a few years, it's really embedded in our vision for the company," he said.

"But soon we'll have our campaign for the New Year; it's a work in progress - I can't tell you what the angle will be."

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