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

Honda – The story of Grrr

Honda introduced their i-CTDi diesel car engine in 2004 with what became a multi-award-winning television commercial known as “Grrr” and “Hate/Change”. We open up on an animated scene – tropical flowers, green manicured meadows, crystal clear lakes and mountains lit by sun rays. The hedges are trimmed with the letters, H, A, T and E. We soon see why the environment has developed this ‘hate’. Noisy, smoky diesel engines zoom through the environment, hassling the wildlife. The rainbow gives one of the engines the flick. White bunny rabbits take on ear muffs before shooting arrows at an engine. And hey – something changes. The engine is now clean, noiseless and friendly to the environment.

The concept for the ad comes from the Honda lead engineer being asked to design a diesel engine. Kenichi Nagahiro had long resisted the idea, on the grounds that diesel engines were smelly and noisy, bad for the environment. But his hate for the diesel engine led to the development of a new engine much kinder on the eyes, ears and nose, not to mention the animals. The engine was fitted in the new Accord and introduced to the UK in early 2004.

The lyrics for the Honda Diesel Hate ad are sung by Garrison Keillor, American author and voice artist, along with Wieden + Kennedy writers and whistlers Michael Russoff, Sean Thompson and Richard Russell, under the band name “Be Nice to the Pigeons”.

Here’s a little song for anyone who’s ever hated…
in the key of Grr

Can hate be good?
Can hate be great?
Can hate be good?
Can hate be great?
Can hate be something we don’t hate?

We’d like to know
why it is so
that certain diesels must be slow
and thwack and thrum
and pong and hum
can clatter clat
Hate something
Change something
Hate something change something
Make something better

Oh isn’t it just bliss
when a diesel goes just like this?

Sing it like you hate it…
Hate something
Change something
Hate something
Change something
Make something better

The ad features creatures associated with environmental protection, innocence and joy… butterflies, swans, peacock, deer, humming birds, frog, chickens, bunnies, seahorses, turtles, goats, penguins, pink flamingos, robin, dolphins, seals and a ladybird.
The campaign also came out with an online flash-based game featuring a rabbit that visits nine environments, eats carrots, and changes shoddy technology into environmentally friendly features.



Honda’s latest TV ad has Garrison Keillor singing …. and explains why hate can sometimes be a positive emotion!
‘Hate something, change something’ is the theme for Honda’s first ever diesel engine TV commercial, which breaks this week (1 Oct). Entitled ‘Grrr-, the 90 second commercial takes the viewer on a journey through an optimistic animated world of ‘positive hate’. The film tells the story behind the creation of Honda’s first diesel in a unique way. Kenichi Nagahiro, the company’s chief engine designer and inventor of the celebrated VTEC engine, hated diesel engines, hated how noisy, smelly and dirty they were. When asked to design Honda’s first diesel he flatly refused – unless he was allowed to start completely from scratch. The result is one of the cleanest, most refined diesel engines on the market today, the 2.2 i-CTDi. Cute bunnies, pretty flowers and rainbows – things typically associated with positive imagery – show their dislike of dirty, noisy, smelly diesel engines by destroying them in exchange for something better. They joyfully celebrate the arrival of Honda’s new diesel. And throughout the film Garrison Keillor sings a specially written folk song in which he asks the question ‘Can hate be good?’ Wieden + Kennedy, which produced the advertisement, were captivated by the idea of talking about Hate as something positive, a passionate force that could actually be turned to good use, and the slogan ‘Hate Something, Change Something’ was born. ‘One of the biggest challenges was how to talk about hate in a really positive way that felt right for Honda,- says Kim Papworth, Creative Director at Wieden + Kennedy, London. ‘Writing a song and creating an animated world of positive hate was the natural next step. The commercial breaks as a 90- in cinemas from 24 September and launches on TV from 1 October as a 90- and 60-. The campaign will be supported by press, radio, and interactive TV, as well as extensive content on Honda.co.uk.

Honda Grrr on Wikipedia

Advertising Agency: Wieden+Kenndy, London
Executive Creative Director: Wave London
Creative Director: Tony Davidson/Kim Papworth
Copywriter: Sean Thompson/Michael Russoff/Richard Russell
Art Director: Sean Thompson/Michael Russoff/Richard Russell
Production Company: Nexus Productions, London
Director: Adam Foulkes/Alan Smith