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Why IKEA catalogue campaign is so successful

IKEA’s 2015 catalogue ad campaign Experience The Power of a Bookbook has hit over nine million views in just a week.

In a close likeness to Apple’s iconic product promotional style – with heavy use of closeup on plain background and detailed descriptions on the products – the campaign, which ran in Singapore and Malaysia, has been widely applauded globally for the satirical take on Apple’s commercial style.

Tinus Strydom, creative director at BBH Asia Pacific, the brains behind the much-talked about ad campaign, said the idea came”out of the ether”.

“When you’re thinking about how to make a traditional marketing tool like a catalogue seem special, your context is that it lives in a world of digital marvels where devices are replacing books,” he told Marketing.

“From there the notion of announcing it like anything but a book starts to take shape,” he said.

Simple as you can imagine, the brief was to make people take note of the annual IKEA catalogue when it arrives in their mailbox.

“Make them see it as something worth opening and looking at. Through the video we lampoon and also create that same hype that people experience for a new tech product launch. That feeling makes the catalogue feel special.

“To put it another way, it’s no longer a catalogue, it’s a bookbook.”

They say timing is everything. Unveiling the campaign last week saw no coincidence in timing as the much-anticipated iPhone6 from Apple was slated to launch a week after.

“We’ve actually been pleasantly surprised by the fairly universal enjoyment of the video,” said Strydom.

“It’s struck the right notes with a global audience which is great, and because of IKEA’s global distribution of the catalogue the campaign has struck a chord with fans well beyond the initial campaign home of Singapore and Malaysia.

“Just search #bookbook, especially on Instagram to see the spontaneous uptake of the idea in action,” he added.

Parody advertisement is not something new in advertising, and more often than not, it can all go wrong.

Witty context and perfect timing may have earned this IKEA campaign a global appeal; but not every spoof spot succeeds.

Microsoft’s Click it and I Note it, for instance, a spoof spot on LMFAO iconic track Sexy and I Know It released two months ago, received less support on the internet.

So in developing an ad to spoof Apple, how to ensure a correct blend for two of the world’s biggest brands and to make it stand out?

“There’s a bit more relevance because it’s old tech against new tech, for which there is already a healthy debate on sites the likes of Cnet. The other reasons are in the details,” said Strydom.

“The level of polish on the jokes and the attention to detail in execution and performance were appreciated.

“Subtle things like adding the trademark to bookbook are final little bits of garnish that tie it all together.

“So in a word, execution,” he added.

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