IKEA – Embrace Change (the IKEA version of the Oval Office)

In January 2009, IKEA wanted to elevate the status of its Washington, D.C. area stores after making significant local renovations, upgrades, and customer service enhancements. The communications goal was simple: to reintroduce the IKEA concept and stores to the D.C. area through a campaign that generates buzz and awareness and revive the enthusiasm and excitement Washingtonians feel for IKEA. Coincidently, these positive adjustments to the IKEA D.C. area stores came at a time of “Change” for D.C., which led to the concept of the “Embrace Change ’09″ Campaign developed by agency partner Deutsch NY and publicized internationally by the MWW Group Consumer Lifestyle Marketing team.

The objective of the promotion
The objective of the “Embrace Change” program was to use the increased media attention in Washington DC surrounding the historic presidential inauguration to highlight how IKEA’s low priced, high quality home furnishing solutions are relevant to all Americans, encouraging them to embrace change in their homes.

How the promotion developed from concept to implementation
To garner attention for the message and give it cultural relevance, we chose to physically demonstrate what it was to “embrace change” using the incoming President as both inspiration and illustration. A replica of the Oval Office in Union Station that showed thousands of commuters and visitors how IKEA would furnish the most important room in the world.



At EmbraceChange09.com, Americans could design their own virtual Oval Office and send their submissions to the White House. The microsite features a pixel art Oval Office and various pieces of IKEA furniture that you can use to create your ideal Oval Office, and each piece links to real version in the IKEA store, and can be customized with the same materials and options as the real item. Then you simply place, rotate and arrange the Oval Office as you see fit to create your very own version of Obama’s new home. Once you’re done, you can use the site’s built-in Send to Friend functionality to share your room with others, or you can even send it off to the White House and make your voice heard. Three winning designs will even receive a $1,500 Giftcard to make their dream Oval Office come to life


And a motorcade brimming with IKEA purchases cruised through the city making many wonder if the president was actually embracing change.





The results
The unique timing of the economy and the changing administration provided an ideal platform to present IKEA’s concept. With 222,304 unique site visitors and 3,998 designs submitted to the white house coupled with 400+ unique media placements, 60+ minutes of broadcast coverage and 500,000,000 impressions, “Embrace Change” gave IKEA its largest PR success in the brand’s history with the “embrace change” message becoming the definitive brand platform for now and hopefully for many years to come.

IKEA has always been about giving people options to make their homes more beautiful, more functional and more fabulous for less money. Given the economic situation and incoming administration, we positioned IKEA as providing “fiscally responsible home furnishings” that translate to real possibilities and tangible solutions that allow everyone to “embrace change.” Our connection with the new administration’s tone of optimism and commitment to change made IKEA’s voice stronger than other retailers who were attempting to harness the same attention.

“We have never had an opportunity to do anything surrounding the message of change from a national standpoint,” said Ikea public relations manager Marty Marston.

Advertising Agency: Deutsch, New York
Chief Creative Officer: Peter Nicholson
Group Creative Director: Nathan Hunt
Copywriter: Nick Bayne
Art Director: Grant Piper
Year: 2009
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