IKEA Canada has its bed in the clouds

Who: IKEA and Rethink, with Scouts Honour for production (directed by Mark Zibert) and effects by the L.A.-based VFX company A52. Additional 3D animation for social, digital, and OOH by Montreal VFX studio SHED, with Carat Canada for media.

What: “Our Little World,” a visually striking—and technically ambitious—broadcast spot that supports the retailer’s continued efforts around sustainability. It joins a growing list of work in this space, including last year’s “One Little Thing,” as well as “Scrap du Soleil,” “Stuff Monster” and “Lamp 2.”

When & Where: The campaign launches today (April 1) in English and French, and is being supported by online video, digital, out-of-home and social. The Canadian production is also being exported to Serbia, Romania and Croatia—and likely Australia later in the year.

Those countries comprise one of seven marketing clusters for the retailer (the U.S., U.K and France tend to collaborate on projects, for example). “There’s a cost efficiency, but it’s also a good way to share learning,” said IKEA Canada’s head of marketing, Johanna Andrén.

Why: The new work is building on the momentum of “One Little Thing,” which showed how even small actions dedicated to sustainability can be powerful when taken together. The spot has a particular emphasis on what Andrén described as “life at home”—which has taken on particular resonance in the past year (and which also led the brand to introduce this fantastic/awful product recently).

While the campaign is about inspiring Canadians to adopt small acts of sustainability, the ultimate goal here is strengthening the brand, said Andrén. “On the day you need to renovate your kitchen or need to buy a bed, we want to be in the consideration set.”

How: Set to the song “Book of dreams” by Daniel Tashian (and the song “L’Enfant et l’oiseau” for the French-language version), the 60-second spot shows people occupying their own little planet above the clouds, all doing their part for sustainability—such as hanging laundry, riding their bicycle or recycling.

As the spot progresses, we see that the world is comprised of hundreds of these self-contained little planets. It finishes with an evocative view of Earth as seen from space, accompanied by the super “A better world starts at home” and IKEA’s tagline, “The beautiful possibilities.”

The spot’s visual esthetic was inspired by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry’s famous 1943 children’s book Le Petit Prince, best known for its iconic image of the titular character standing astride his own personal planet. “We didn’t want it to feel like dark outer space, but more of a feeling of floating in a more natural open sky,” said Andrén.

How’d they do it? The spot’s live-action component was shot on a Toronto soundstage over three days, using spheres of all different sizes, with furniture items including beds, night tables and shelves bolted to each structure.

All of the live-action footage was captured in-camera—with live lighting and wind adding to the look and feel—while the world above the clouds in which the film takes place was created by A52 in post. “I’ve done 40 commercials in my career, and this is by far the most ambitious and advanced production I have ever experienced,” said Andrén.

It looks really expensive: “I won’t tell you the numbers, but of course it’s not cheap,” said Andrén. “But it’s not more expensive than ‘One Little Thing,’ that I will tell you. We get what I feel is a lot for the money.”

“Once you have an idea you really fall in love with, it’s hard to let it go,” she said. “It helps that we are collaborating with southeastern Europe.”

The agency perspective: Because the visual creative device of the little worlds is so spectacular, it was important to us to make sure the actions happening in each little world were honest and grounded in reality—both to help the spot resonate and also to make the sustainable lifestyles feel accessible,” said Dhaval Bhatt, partner and creative director at Rethink.

“Once we reimagined the setting of the home into these little isolated but connected planets, we realized we weren’t beholden to a traditional neighbourhood to represent an interconnected community,” he added. “So, we were able to bring together different types of households with a more global feel, to represent the universal experience of life at home in the past year.”

And we quote: “Through this latest spot, we wanted to show little actions that can affect change, because a better world really does start at home—those little worlds where, over the last year, we’ve had to live, work and play more than ever before.” — Johanna Andrén, head of marketing, IKEA Canada.

Chris Powell