The association between this lead and the rest of the story is as relevant as an association between cats and Ikea, but infuse some dry, British humor, put it on YouTube, support it with additional marketing tools, and bam, you have a global viral sensation that will likely cost you hours hooked to your computer.
Ikea's recent “Happy Inside” campaign included the cat experiment at its Wembley UK store, a documentary about the experiment, an ad campaign, and a competition that had viewers guess, and potentially win, the furniture the cats warmed up to. The campaign was, according to various write-ups, an effort to expand awareness and promote its 2011 catalogue in the UK.
These days, no ad campaign should run without an online promotion. This initiative is a good example of a fun, harmless – unless, of course, an employee one day finds a dead cat in the wall – and effective brand effort.
And in all fairness, the company likely had a good reason to choose cats – the obvious, unspoken reason is because they don't poop on furniture the way dogs do.
In all seriousness, however, Feh Tarty, creative director at Mother London, the agency that developed the campaign, told Brand Republic, “Cats know better than anything what makes them feel happy inside.” If you're a cat person, you probably knew that.
It's also true that a healthy dose of non-offensive humor never hurt any campaign. And, as we've seen from other Ikea initiatives, including the 2009 PRWeek Campaign of the Year, “Man Lives in IKEA: Citizen Marketer Becomes IKEA Brand Evangelist,” the brand is on target with its cool and experiential approach.
Ikea furniture may not have nine lives, but the ad agency that decided to unleash 100 cats in a UK store should have at least that many.
3 On the right track