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Bernie Sanders Water Cooler Creative Advertising

Ikea muscles in on the Bernie Sanders meme with a ‘get the look’ ad


By John Glenday, Reporter

January 25, 2021 | 3 min read

You may not be anywhere near the office water cooler right now, but we still want to spotlight the most talked about creative from the brands that should be on your radar. Today, we’re looking at how Ikea has capitalised on the hottest meme of 2021 – an image of Bernie Sanders bundled up in his mittens at the president Biden’s inauguration.

bernie chair

Ikea muscles in on the Bernie Sanders meme with a ‘get the look’ ad

A striking image of be-mittened United States senator Bernie Sanders sat with arms folded at the inauguration ceremony for president Joe Biden has become one of the year’s first big internet memes and the seed for a new advertising campaign from Ikea.

Sensing an opportunity to capitalise on a dour national mindset, the Swedish retailer has seized on the unlikely fashion icon to encourage customers to ’get the look’ by flogging its fold-up seats and mittens for people wishing to emulate the chilled appearance of the venerable politician.

Devised by Ogilvy Greece, the promotion sadly cannot fully replicate the glum look in all its glory, with Sanders’ gloves believed to be handcrafted from recycled sweaters and bottles, leaving imitators to make do with the Vardagen range of hand warmers.

Ikea is no stranger to tapping viral social media events, memes and trends for marketing purposes, having previously courted Game of Thrones fans by pointing to the fact that the show’s extras could often be seen adorned in its rugs and pelts.

This association with the hit fantasy show extended to a successful ad break within the show’s final season, which saw IKea ride the coattails of 18.4 million viewers to record an average 495% social uplift across three ’The Wonderful Everyday’ spots.

Not averse to sarcasm, the flat-pack retailer previously had a dig at pretentious fashion brand Balenciaga, after it unveiled a £1,705 blue bag which bore more than a passing resemblance to Ikea’s 40p Frakta holdall. To much amusement, the retailer penned a guide to help people differentiate the real thing from its imitator.

Ikea also made light of the record-breaking $450m sale of Leonardo Da Vinci's Salvator Mundi painting, by depicting it hung within a $9.99 Viserum picture frame.

More recently, Ikea’s responsive marketing approach saw it provide parents with desperately needed lockdown entertainment for children in the form of spoof pictographic instructional sheets on how to build rug wigwams and cushion forts, all in the familiar style of genuine manuals.

Bernie Sanders Water Cooler Creative Advertising

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IKEA is a Swedish-founded Dutch-based multinational group, that designs and sells ready-to-assemble furniture, kitchen appliances and home accessories. It has been...

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