World’s best ads ever #95: Ikea subverts Christmas advertising with ‘Silence the Critics’
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It’s hard to believe Ikea only entered the UK Christmas ad game in 2019, when none other than UK grime artist D Double E featured on ‘Silence the Critics’ alongside some singing nick-nacks.
The 90-second ad by Mother centers on a family being taunted by their grime-performing kitsch ornaments. The track rhymes lines such as ‘that crack in the wall needs addressing’ and ‘the state of the floor is just depressing’.
The singing ornaments encourage the family to avoid ‘home shame’ by redecorating with Ikea furniture and invite friends and family over for Christmas. Each ornament is silenced by the renovations.
Tapping into grime music just as it was breaking into mainstream media made this ad so important. And who better to have on board than the artist Skepta hailed “the greatest grime MC of all time,” D Double E?
MJZ was the production outfit behind the ad, with Tom Kuntz directing the spot. Kuntz was also behind Money Super Market commercial ’Epic’ and, more recently, shot John Lewis’s life insurance campaign ‘Let Life Happen’.
From Mother, Thom Whitaker and Danielle Outhwaite Noel were creative directors and Jenny Fan was the producer.
The spot won two Gold Pencils at the D&AD Awards, with one judge – Holly Fraser of WePresent – praising Ikea for “subverting the tired ‘pull at the heartstring’ formula usually rolled out for holiday season advertising”. The result, she said, was a “clever, catchy, conversation-starting piece of work that lived far beyond its original purpose and instead turned into a cultural moment”.
‘Silence the Critics’ rolled out across the broadcast, VOD and cinema with 60 and 20-second cut downs supported with out-of-home, press, CRM and PR.