Posted by: David Kiley on January 24, 2006
Donny Deutsch’s agency is back working for Ikea, eh?, even after the Donny had called Ikea furniture “total crap…I was always astounded at the shit people had to do to put that furniture together” in a Playboy interview last year.
Good For Ikea: For looking beyond one of Donny’s momentary verbal breakdowns. Perhaps there were some bunnies in the room, and he wasn’t thinking clearly. The truth is that Deutsch produced some of the best brand advertising I’ve ever seen for Ikea (and the best I’ve ever seen for home furnishings, period) back in the mid and late 1990s. And as the company has been changing agencies like I change my socks, perhaps it will find some magic back with Deutsch. There was, of course, the ad with the two gay men talking furniture together. But there were other TV spots that stay with me a decade later: the story of the recently divorced, and obviously liberated, woman setting up house for herself with Ikea stuff, and another spot in which a couple expecting a baby were talking about their future amidst the chairs display in an Ikea. Deutsch was the first to take furniture advertising in the U.S. beyond tiresome President’s Day sales.
Donny knows he was wrong about Ikea. But cut him slack. He’s not exactly the target customer. Having just rehabbed a kitchen largely with Ikea cabinets, Ikea flooring and Ikea countertop for under $6K, including hiring a enterprising pair of guys to assemble and install the cabinets (I did the floor), I can tell anyone interested that Ikea serves a great need in America. You can get a great look with cabinets rated very well by Consumer Reoports without spending $80K on a kitchen. Do I want a house full of Ikea stuff? No. But finished basement, my kitchen, kid’s room…absolutely.
Taking advantage of Ikea designs in rooms that lend themselves to furnishings that aren’t meant to last for ten years, because you want to change the look from time to time, is a valuable consumer experience. But here is a tip for the overall marketing and customer experience: the textless instructions for each piece are a good idea given the breadth of languages and cultures Ikea serves. But, yipes, they could be better done.