Is the truth out there? IKEA thinks so. Spotting a huge potential new market for BILLY bookcase and the POÄNG armchair, IKEA is preparing themselves to welcome extra-terrestrial. They’ve translated their iconic instructions into an alien language – and they’ve given their familiar little cartoon figures an out-of-this-world makeover.
It may be a coincidence, but this redesign comes just ahead of the US government’s release of a report about unidentified objects recorded by military vehicles - though there’s never a shortage of UFO sightings. According to the National UFO Reporting Center, there were 7,267 global sightings in 2020. We are not alone, indeed.
It was agency Memac Ogilvy Dubai that spotted this potential new demographic to for their client target. They collaborated with illustrator Daniel Spacek to tweak the distinctive IKEA instruction manuals. As aliens do tend to be fairly savvy with social media, the campaign is currently playing out there.
Memac Ogilvy Dubai’s Cristiano Tonnarelli talks us through the creative.
LBB> Was there a brief that this project was in response to?
Cristiano> Actually, this is an always-on brief. If you know the brands you are working for, their purpose, and their values, you are always in brief mode. The client loved the idea since the first moment.
LBB> How did you get to the idea of doing something fun with the IKEA instruction manual men?... and why aliens?
Cristiano> UFO and aliens became topical in the last months. Like many, we saw all the UFO sightings and all the conversations about Aliens that are happening, not only on social media but also in media such as The Guardian, The New York Times, CNN, Gulf News, etc. So, we thought, if aliens are coming for real, they probably need a home.
This intuition came suddenly on a Friday morning and was presented to the client the following Sunday, approved immediately.
It was perfect for IKEA iconic instructions, and IKEA tone of voice, based on a fun and playful attitude. IKEA is constantly trying to understand people's needs and make life at home better for them. Even if they are Aliens.
That's why IKEA wants to offer affordable, accessible, sustainable solutions for all, based on the values of inclusion, togetherness, optimism, tolerance.
If Aliens exist for real, we want to live in peace with them. The line of this campaign, "Furniture for all.", is also a funny welcome for them.
LBB> How did you develop the alien language and design the characters?
Cristiano> This came thanks to the collaboration with an amazing illustrator, Daniel Spacek, an illustrator from planet Earth. We researched online and discovered that he already did for fun some studies about IKEA instructions in the past. Also, he is in love with space and astronauts. Collaborating with him was smooth and we understood each other in a snap. We developed the language together, applying our passion for SCI-FI.
LBB> What is it about IKEA's original design assets that makes them so distinctive? you can play with them but they're still totally recognisable!
Cristiano> Simplicity and familiarity are crucial. Ikea instructions created a world with its own visual language part of our life, and the brand already used them in the past. And they work.
LBB> How has the campaign played out?
Cristiano> The campaign has just started on social media, and we have plans to extend it further, hopefully. We are also ready to react in case any news should come out in the next days.
For now, people love it, but we do not have data about Aliens’ appreciations, yet.