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The Power of Emotional Marketing - IKEA

Updated: Oct 5, 2020

Author: Ananya Garg

No matter how much you like to think of yourself as a rational, logical person – human beings are slaves to emotion.

Today’s brands understand that Positive Emotions = Long Term ROI

IKEA through its campaign Where Life Happens used emotional marketing to manifest the idea that the brand (IKEA) can be a part of very big and small life situation. The campaign showcased that IKEA's products can help to solve or improve all kinds of emotional everyday problems by being a part of various aspects of human everyday lives. Through this integrated campaign, brand created ads from fully functional and innovative pregnancy test to promote baby cribs to sensitive issues like adoption, dementia and hardships of a single parenting. Each media portrayed that life itself is the biggest source of inspiration for the brand for developing the new products to make our lives easier.


IKEA happens to focus on primarily two insights:

  • Instead of showing the functional benefits of its products (which are so integral to our lives), the brand focused on showing the emotional needs those same products could fulfill, thereby increasing the perceived value of the products.

  • For the people who already own the IKEA products, the campaign acted as a reminder to them about the worth of the products and how those products play an important role in our everyday lives and experiences.

The campaign used various medium to bring across their message.

Print Ad: “Peeing on this ad may change your life”

IKEA created a magazine ad in one of the most influential women magazines called Amelia in 2018. The ad displayed a baby crib with its price tag. Readers were encouraged to pee on a strip shown at the bottom of the ad which acted like a pregnancy test. A discounted price was revealed (initially invisible) for the pregnant readers, once the test result came as positive.

The ad cleverly strikes a chord with the to-be-mothers, leaving an impression of caring brand, who understands the needs of its customers by providing discount to the most important product during the situation. A simple baby crib ad with a price tag might not have captured the readers desirable attention, but the incorporation of the pregnancy test strip definitely did. The use of words “you will get a surprise” will even pushes a non-pregnant woman to test if she can understand the surprise factor.

Video Ad from IKEA - Where Life Happens

The ad is about a father and a son where the kid is waiting for his father to pick him up after his parent’s divorce. The father arrives, the not-so-happy mother calls the son to come. A beautifully designed son’s room is shown where he takes his favorite sketch pens from his study table before leaving. Upon reaching the father’s place, he sees the exact replica of his room which feels a sense of comfort and familiarity with the new environment. The ad beautifully captures these feelings when the boy put down those sketch pens in the same orderly way on his study table. In the end, price tags of some of the products used in designing the bedroom are shown to reveal the brand being advertised.

The brand understands that divorced parents is common in the country like Sweden and respects the changing lifestyles and the challenges the kids faced during this journey. The ad perfectly fits into the theme of where life happens, bringing a different but relevant experience many people face in their day to day lives. Where very few companies actually explore such sensitive issues of divorce through their advertising, IKEA boldly and beautifully captures the emotions.


The whole campaign had the power to strike the emotional chord with the viewers and connect with their daily lives. It seemed like a well-thought off campaign with emphasis on strengthening the brand relation with its consumers rather than looking for short-term sales. With selling products which are like a necessity and people only associate functional benefits with it, it becomes difficult to challenge that norm and establish a new identity for those products and I believe IKEA beautifully did that through this campaign.

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