IKEA debuts new made-in-Canada brand platform, ‘Bring Home to Life’

Who: IKEA Canada, with Rethink for strategy and creative; Wunderman Thompson for CRM; OPC for production (directed by Gary Freedman); Nimiopere, The Vanity, and Vapor Music for post-production; Carat for media.

What: “Bring Home to Life” (La Maison, c’est la vie) a brand platform for the home furnishings retailer that replaces the five-year old “The Beautiful Possibilities” platform, and was inspired by the new way people view their home in the wake of the pandemic.

When & Where: The campaign officially debuted with a 60-second TV spot that aired during Monday’s Emmy’s telecast. That’s being supported by two 15-second spots, “Her New Room” and “Home Team,” as well as a series of six-second cutdowns and out-of-home executions, including a 3D billboard at Yonge-Dundas Square.

Why: While “The Beautiful Possibilities” focused on the endless opportunities offered to Canadians by IKEA’s products, “Bring Home to Life” is intended to forge a more emotional connection with customers by showing how IKEA can help people bring the spaces that matter most to them to life, said head of marketing, Johanna Andrén.

“We felt it was time to move a little bit beyond the functional benefits of IKEA and more into people’s lives,” she said. The platform is intended to demonstrate that IKEA can facilitate lively debates amongst family, support moments of self-care, inspire acts of sustainability, and be a catalyst for what it calls “the joyful chaos of the everyday.”

It was developed with extensive input from the company’s staff, who were asked to provide feedback on three different concepts. “We decided that we didn’t want to create a TV concept or even a marketing concept—we wanted to create a movement within the organization,” said Andrén. “This is the one that provides the most emotional connection and had the best fit with IKEA.”

While recent IKEA platforms and campaigns have been developed for multiple markets, this effort was specifically developed for Canada. “When you launch a new brand platform you need it to be super-relevant for the market,” said Andrén. “We wanted to make sure it was really talking to Canadians.”

How: Shot in Toronto’s Parkdale neighbourhood, the campaign’s anchor spot opens on a cab dropping a Canadian newcomer outside his new apartment building. He opens the door on a bare apartment, but with smiling family and friends all frozen in place around furnishings that have not yet been purchased.

While IKEA has nodded to Canadian multiculturalism in previous advertising, this represents the company’s first broad-based advertising to speak directly to Canadian newcomers, said Andrén.

“The starting point wasn’t like ‘Let’s do a newcomer story.’ The starting point was the brand platform, and we felt it was a very beautiful way to illustrate it, and very relevant for the Canadian market,” said Andrén. “It fits the [brand platform] very well.”

Soundtracked by a cover of Elton John’s “Your Song” performed by Canadian indie-soul artist AHI the spot unfolds with the man acquiring new items for his home from IKEA: A new frying pan, a rug, chairs, picture frames, etc.

Along the way, he strikes up friendships with neighbours and local business owners, all while remaining in contact with his family overseas. The tableau comes to life when the man’s family finally joins him in Canada, with the man smiling contentedly at the joy that surrounds him.

It’s kinda personal: Andrén arrived in Canada from her native Sweden with her husband and three children nearly three years ago. “I absolutely know that when you move into a home and you put the frames with photos from your vacations, that’s when you bring it to life,” she said.

And we quote: “A house is so much more than four walls and it’s so much more than a dining table,” said Andrén. “It’s for conversations between family and friends.”

Chris Powell