If you think you might be pregnant, IKEA not only sells cribs—it also is offering a free home pregnancy test.
The ad—which ran in Sweden’s Amelia magazine reads, “Peeing on this ad may change your life.” It encourages readers to use the bottom of the ad as a pregnancy test, and if you’re expecting, a discounted price for Ikea’s Sundvik crib will appear under the original price.
Jimmy Kimmel poked fun at the marketing stunt on his show, “Jimmy Kimmel Live”:
Swedish-based marketing and advertising agency Åkestam Holst came up with the stunt, and an executive told Adweek that consumers don’t have to bring the ad into Ikea to take advantage of the offer.
The first thing to note, creative chief Magnus Jakobsson told us—and maybe this wasn’t clear before—is that the ad is not a coupon. “You don’t have to bring an ad soaked in urine to Ikea to get the discount,” Jakobsson says. (Whew.)
Rather, the discount is available to all members of the Ikea Family program. Thus, the ad really functions more as a simple, free pregnancy test—and encourages readers who are pregnant to join Ikea Family and reap the benefits. (Families who are adopting, of course, can do the same—it’s not a discount for pregnant women only.)
You also don’t have to be pregnant—or adopting—to join Ikea’s Family loyalty program, but the deal on the company’s crib is only available to those in Sweden.
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The ad is making waves on social media and has garnered plenty of media coverage—but it’s just another in a list of Ikea marketing and PR stunts that have caught the attention of consumers and journalists.
It is not the first time that Ikea marketing campaigns have courted controversy. The world’s biggest furniture retailer in 2016 ran a series of ads called “Where life happens,” in which it touched on topics such as divorce and single-parent households. In 2012, it was forced to apologize for removing some women from its catalog in Saudi Arabia and a year later received criticism from the Thai Transgender Alliance for a commercial they claimed was disrespectful toward transsexuals.
Ikea also made headlines and racked up social media mentions when it redesigned its iconic shopping bags.
Though some Twitter users say they’re grossed out by the ad, people are definitely talking about Ikea—and most of the reaction to the PR and marketing stunt is positive. One PR pro even called it the “coolest pee-based advertising”:
“This is definitely the coolest pee-based advertising since Animal Planet put urine-scented ads at the bottom of lampposts to attract dogs (whose owners then saw a larger ad at their own eye level promoting a dog award show).” #PeeAdvertising https://t.co/OwxvkVqhjI— Greg Swan (@gregswan) January 10, 2018
Jakobsson told Adweek that the response in Sweden was also largely positive:
“It’s been really good, as in the rest of Europe,” Jakobsson says. “People think it’s a strange, funny and likable ad. Well, mostly.”
It also fits well into the ongoing “Where Life Happens” theme of the brand’s domestic advertising, which has been celebrated for shining a light on ordinary, relatable people and plots.
“‘Where life happens’ is all about life’s everyday situations, and being pregnant is definitely one of those,” says Jakobsson. “We try to make every single [ad] under the concept of ‘Where life happens’ as relevant and creative as possible in every type of media, and this time we got the chance to explore print. Could it be more than just an ordinary ad for a baby crib stating a price? Could it prosper outside the boundaries of a magazine and go viral? Yes, it most certainly could.”
What do you think of the ad, PR Daily readers?