IKEA, herding cats, and happiness

By Ingrid Fetell Lee

I often take brands to task for “joywashing”: advertising their products or services with a veneer of positive emotion that is either unsupported by the product itself or completely inappropriate to the product. So I was happy to see this ad from IKEA in the UK that uses aesthetics of joy and comfort in a very fitting way. Say what you will about IKEA, its products enable the transitory and the low-income to create a home, in the context of an extremely expensive category. The aesthetics of IKEA products themselves tend to be bright and cheerful, and yet the simple designs have become a mainstay of the DIY community as a substrate for creativity. We giggle at the Swedish names, smile at the clever design touches, and feel at ease about the prices. So the positioning line “happy inside” doesn’t feel like a reach to me.

There are many lovely things about this ad, (you should watch the “making of” too), and several nice uses of aesthetics of joy. I love the jumping shots, especially slowed down and sped up, and the shots among the lighting. There’s a deliberate sense of lightness throughout, both lightweight and illuminated. And it feels spontaneous because these are real cats, untrained, and you can sense their genuine curiosity as they poke through the textiles and drawers and lampshades. I have to say, it’s not unlike how I feel when I first get to IKEA (before the maze has beaten me down) — energized and curious about what I might find. It’s nice that they kept in one of the little fights, because that’s part of a happy home life too — it’s not all dancing and cuddles and naps on the sofa. Good for IKEA and Mother for not overly staging it and conducting this in an experimental way. Altogether, from how its made to how it appears in the end, it does make me feel “happy inside.”

Though assembling the furniture when you get home — that’s another story.

{via Apartment Therapy}

September 14th, 2010

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