More and more science tells us emotion, not rational thought, is the gatekeeper to consumer behavior. the most emtionally engaging experiences are the most effective communications.


CHALLENGE: October is typically a non-promotional time frame for IKEA due to it being on the heels of the holiday period. IKEA wondered if its 20th year in the United States would resonate with Americans and double sales.

INSIGHT: Most business anniversaries are seen as corporate celebrations. People usually do not feel a personal connection to the occasion. In the US, companies that do celebrate their anniversary with the public, typically offer big savings; IKEA never puts its current inventory on sale.

IDEA: In quirky IKEA fashion, we turned the anniversary into a birthday party and everyone was invited. Come for the cake and your home gets the gifts – beautiful IKEA furnishings for an unprecedented 15% off everyday low prices – an offer only enjoyed by employees and only good for the very special celebration weekend. Employees were also surprised with an additional 20% off an item of their choice. Everyone had reason to celebrate!
We created a nationwide 20th Birthday Party weekend with simultaneous events happening at all 22 U.S. stores, in 11 markets. We dressed all store exteriors with birthday cake trimmings, the biggest store in the U.S., Schaumburg, Il, took the cake. It was completely wrapped from top to bottom as a giant cake using 33,000 square feet of vinyl, 470 gigantic streamers, 19 miles of cable and over 36,000 grommets. A feat that the media and shoppers loved, it was even featured on Discovery Channel's Really Big Things show. We created all the communication for the event. The campaign featured a 20-year retrospective microsite and included print and radio advertising, PR and an e-mail blast inviting fans to the party that was only taking place on one special weekend. Together, with one resounding voice and all five senses, communicated the specialness of the milestone and uniqueness of the offer.

RESULTS: We served over 300,000 pieces of cake that weekend and treated guests to local-flavored fun and games. The microsite received over 100,000 views, of which most were unique visits and drove over a thousand new customers to opt into the database. The promotion was a sweet success, doubling sales nationwide and even enjoyed higher sales increases in some stores.