Gratitude on our skin

BACKGROUND: In 2018 IKEA celebrated its 75th anniversary. As part of the celebration, our task was to say «Thank you» to our customers in-store. And it had to be done in all 14 IKEA stores in Russia. We could not create any additional media placements inside the stores for two reasons: 1. We couldn’t mess with in-store navigation and a familiar customer path. 2. We didn’t have any media budget. So we decided to invent our own media channel and make IKEA in-store experience unforgettable.

CREATIVE IDEA, STRATEGY: Traditionally, Scandinavian design is minimal, functional and doesn’t scream. It blends with surroundings. We needed to create something nobody would miss. And put it where no one expected it. So we put it on IKEA employees. We made a graphic pattern out of iconic IKEA items, turned it into a tattoo art, and put it on arms of IKEA cashiers. On each tattoo sleeve, we wrote “Thank you for coming only for candles”. Usually, customer expects so see a tattooed employee in a skateboard store or a guitar shop. Nobody expected to see this in IKEA. So every customer noticed and read our message of gratitude. Most customers looked twice and even pointed their fingers. Since our TA is everyone who comes to IKEA, we had to deliver our message in a way that would talk to each customer. Our message had to stand out and get noticed by everybody.

EXECUTION: Altogether, a two-week activation in 14 IKEA stores tallied more than 500 000 customer interactions. None of the customers expected to see cashiers with such impactful tattoos, so most of them were both shocked and amused. Most customers even pointed their fingers and looked twice. This reaction ensured that customers read our message of gratitude, encapsulated in an ironic manner: “Thank you for coming only for candles.” This message reflects a common insight: you can come to IKEA for something small, like candles, but leave with a sofa or a fully outfitted bedroom. And since every buying customer has to go through the cashier, we increased their chances of seeing our message. Since we practically invented a new communication channel (hands of employees), IKEA reaffirmed its brand value of staying trendy and personal for each customer without having to use multiple costly media channels.


14 IKEA stores;

0 media budget;

1000 euros production budget: a cost of all teddy bears given out;

170 000 happy customers leaving IKEA with a smile;

IKEA turned what used to be the most boring touchpoint into the most fun one!

Next project
Ultimate coffee pleasure 2018