IKEA aims for the heart of the home

#HouseRules takes 'Long Live the Home' insights into social media

Canadians are cool with having dogs on their bed – but not wet towels.

Those are two of the insights that have popped up via a new IKEA Canada campaign that asks consumers to share the laws they live by at home.

The “#HouseRules” campaign launched the week of March 24 with a TV spot that subsequently started appearing in theatres the first week of April. The spot, created by Leo Burnett, features a series of house rules many Canadians will be familiar with – everything from “no jumping on the bed” to “leftovers are first come, first served.”

There’s a large social media component to the campaign (also being handled by Leo Burnett). At the end of the TV spot, viewers are prompted to share their own domestic laws using the #HouseRules hashtag.

Judy John, CEO and chief creative officer at Leo Burnett Toronto, told Marketing the campaign is based on an insight about the way everyone has rules in their homes, and how they’re the things that make each house special and individual. Everyone seems to have their own unique and nuanced set of house rules, and the team at Leo Burnett decided to collect ones from across the country. “We thought it could be a really great conversation that Canadians would want to get into,” she said.

“There’s no question that people connect to the idea of having unwritten rules at home,” said Hilary Lloyd, IKEA Canada’s vice-president of marketing. “We all have them; it’s an undeniable fact. And people also like sharing – particularly with a brand like IKEA.”

The rules tweeted by Canadians so far range from diplomatic (“Whoever makes dinner doesn’t have to clean up!”) to quirky (“You don’t teach the cat, the cat teaches you”) to downright strict (“No one shall enter the kitchen while I’m in it cooking or baking”).

The campaign aims to show – as did the “Long Live the Home” brand campaign a couple of years ago – that IKEA understands Canadians’ everyday lives at home. “[The #HouseRules campaign] was trying to figure out ‘What is a fresh way that we can demonstrate that yet again for Canadians?’” said John.

The previous campaign positioned IKEA “as a leader in ‘life at home’ and celebrating all of the things that make home special,” and Lloyd said the new campaign is a natural extension of that discussion with the added element of getting input from consumers.

While Lloyd said the target for the overall IKEA brand is “all consumers, because everybody has home furnishings needs,” she noted that some of its best consumers are women 25 to 49. They’re the home furnishing purchase drivers and an especially important focus for IKEA.

The #HouseRules user-generated content is being hosted within IKEA.ca. While neither Lloyd nor John would reveal how much feedback has come in, they are both pleased with what they’ve seen so far. “People are very engaged and we’ve quickly populated the site with a wide range of rules,” said John. “People are already contributing to the story.”

Backlash

However, not all of the responses have been positive, as would be expected with any campaign that opens itself up to public feedback.

Some people have used the campaign’s hashtag to criticize IKEA’s employment practices. One person tweeted “Friends don’t let friends shop where they lockout their workers! #BoycottIKEA.” Another tweet reads “Just saw a TV ad for @IKEACanada promoting #HouseRules. We have one. Don’t shop at union busters.”

The Media

The multiplatform campaign, for which Jungle Media is handing the media buy, also includes radio and a large digital component that, beyond Twitter, encompasses Facebook, online media and IKEA.ca. Lloyd said IKEA’s outdoor buy in major markets will very likely be followed by an ambient buy.

She’s excited about the way the outdoor buy “will connect and be dynamically integrated into the social element of the campaign.” Lloyd expects that extension of the campaign will begin next week, but wouldn’t elaborate on details about it, or the other applications that are in the works.

John also wanted the details to be a surprise, but noted, “It is one of these campaigns that will continue to grow as we get input from consumers and people who want to share their house rules, and that will feed our creativity as well in terms of how we share that back out to people.”

IKEA is taking a somewhat of a “pulsing approach” to this campaign, said Lloyd. She believes there are a lot of opportunities to continue the conversations over at least the next couple of months.

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