The idea was simple - to not just show what the products are, but what they do for IKEAs customers.
We deep-dived into the most commonly Googled relationship problems in Sweden, and mapped what issues in life at home that really engaged people. Search queries like ”My husband snores”, ”He can’t say he loves me”, ”My son plays too much computer games” etc.
And then, building on IKEA history of quirky product names, we renamed a large number of IKEA products after Google searches. Every search for a common relationship problem led to a renamed IKEA product that solved that problem, using only simple AdWords. We called it Retail Therapy.
IKEA Retail Therapy invented a new way to use paid search, met consumers with relevant and fun answers on demand when using Google, and showed that IKEA really anticipated and understood the struggles of daily life.
The hub of the campaign was http://ikearetailtherapy.com. The site was launched as a ”stealth initiative” without obvious promotion. We bought Google keywords based on the most common search phrases to secure visibility, but gradually the relationship solutions rose in the organic searches as well.
The initiative was picked up by international media – from American tv-shows to local newspapers all over the world. Even Google themselves praised the initiative on Twitter, asking ”Nice one IKEA. What’s your solution for ”ate too many Swedish meatballs?”. To which we responded with an IKEA solution.
All this drove traffic directly to the campaign site ikearetailtherapy.com, a library of relationship problems, with ”related problems” keeping visitors on the site. When hitting the ”buy-button” you were redirected to IKEA's main shopping site. It was also possible to read about ”democratic design” - IKEA's design philosophy regarding products inspired by life itself.
IKEA turned relationship problems that people only dared confide to Google into the most shared relationship solutions of the year.
1,7 million Swedes (out of 9,5) observed the initiative. But most importantly, the perception of IKEA's products changed (the campaign specific targets/KPI’s). The liking increased with 11% and so did the KPI ”IKEA has product for all stages of life” with over 30%. The campaign increased the sales of some of the products by over 25%.
IKEA Retail Therapy charmed it's way around the world with an earned media reach of 175 million, 100.000 positive shares on social media and was featured on more than 500 news medias. IKEA Retail Therapy solutions had an astonishing click through rate of 16,13%, compared with the Google average of 0,17% .
IKEA had created retail therapy for real, and demonstrated how IKEA’s products can improve the lives of its many customers.
The key insight was that Google has become the common entry point to the problems we all struggle with- a friend we all ask for help.
By deep-diving into Google keywords we figured out the most common relationships problems Swedes struggle with at home. By knowing the questions people were asking, we could highlight relevant and entertaining IKEA solutions by renaming the products
The target audience was all Swedish homeowners, but was in effect self-selecting - when people had a problem they felt was important enough to ask Google about, IKEA had the answer for them
By using paid search creatively we gained an element of surprise, a cost-effective way of getting attention (no competition for AdWords), but most importantly adressed real emotional issues for IKEA’s customers - live and continuously. We could connect IKEAs products to what people felt were their most pressing issues, here and now.