Ikea expands its presence in US digital with AOL alliance

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Swedish home furnishings retailer Ikea will launch a digital campaign with AOL next month that includes display advertising, custom content and a microsite. The effort signals a new commitment to US digital media on the part of the multichannel merchant. Ikea's media AOR, Mediaedge:cia, helped to choose AOL for the initiative.

The digital campaign will be part of an integrated effort by Ikea to reach consumers across a variety of media with a message about the company's expertise in home furnishings. It will also include TV, magazine, direct mail and e-mail marketing.

Mattias Jongard, advertising manager at Ikea, said that the company will use AOL to promote its message "in a way that is consistent with the other media that we are running in, while also using online to deepen that dialogue and go into depth about home furnishings."

He added that Ikea "took a holistic look at how much we need to go into any one channel in order to reach our consumers and our goals, and online came up in a very strong way."

On AOL Home, there will be three sections devoted to information about creating the perfect bedroom, living room and kitchen. These sections will include expert advice and a forum where readers can upload pictures of rooms in their own homes.

The kitchen section will launch in October with a series of photo essays.

The content will include elements that push consumers to specific Ikea product pages to enable the company to track results. Tracking a digital campaign "is new for Ikea, so we'll be working closely with them to help them understand how to use this information from a creative standpoint and from product promotion point of view," said Jeff Levick, president of global advertising and strategy at AOL.

Ikea launched custom content through AOL's instant messaging service in July that includes a pillow fight game within an Ikea-branded environment, a store locator and a Swedish translator.

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