IKEA Tries to Make Furniture Shopping 'Unböring'

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Swedish-owned furnishings retailer IKEA North America has begun an integrated advertising campaign themed "Unböring" that takes potshots at the American penchant for holding onto old furniture.

The yearlong effort by IKEA agency Crispin Porter + Bogusky, Miami, includes a new Unböring.com site, 10 million mini-book insertions in subscriber editions of 20 magazines, 2.6 million e-mails and 9 million copies of the 2003 catalog. Television, outdoor and print support.

"The idea behind Unböring.com is to get people to kind of wake up," said Rich D'Amico, relationship-marketing manager at IKEA, Plymouth Meeting, PA. "For many consumers in North America, they have more cars, more jobs, more dogs, more cats, more spouses, but not many new dining tables.

"What we're saying here is, 'House furnishings is Unböring. It's a way to express yourself, it's a way to get in touch with who you are, and it should be done in a fun, interesting way.'"

Live since Sept. 16, the site aims to give consumers deeper information than that found in TV spots or magazine ads. It also will help drive customers to IKEA stores nationwide in a challenged retail environment.

The Internet effort conveys the story of IKEA, which is basically the idea of form, function and price.

For instance, visitors to unböring.com can play the IKEA "You are Crazy" TV spots and check out new merchandise. They can link back and forth to the main site at ikea-usa.com and play around with a room configurator to see how IKEA furniture will look in a space. In addition, consumers can get information on donating old furniture to The Salvation Army or Goodwill.

Another feature on the site is the Flash animation version of the mini-book, "The Unböring Manifesto." This publication highlights IKEA's history, features anecdotes on select designs and describes the importance of an "Unböring" lifestyle.

Ten million hard-copy versions of this mini-book were dispatched in subscriber-only editions of 20 magazines like Readymade, Vogue, dwell, Wallpaper, Real Simple and Metropolis. The book is the size of a restaurant go-card and is about 20 pages.

"What we're trying to do is reach opinion leaders, people that are going to read the story and tell others," D'Amico said.

An e-mail drop to 1.6 million consumers on IKEA's house file and another 1 million prospects again draws attention to the new campaign and merchandise.

Visitors to Unböring.com also are encouraged to sign up to receive updates as part of an ongoing effort by IKEA to switch from hard-copy mail to e-mail.

Underpinning the entire campaign is the 2003 IKEA catalog. The 344-page book was distributed this month to more than 110 million consumers worldwide. The theme of this edition is "Think Cubic," reflecting space-saving ideas. Later this year, 12 million copies of the seasonal holiday and summer brochures will drop.

D'Amico said direct plays an important role in this effort, which is part of an overall $40 million to $50 million budget for this year.

"I think the idea here is to get other people to recommend IKEA, to talk about IKEA," he said. "It's not a direct mail campaign, but it's relationship marketing. It's very old-fashioned word of mouth."

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