Ikea Red Cross Campaign

A Syrian Home from IKEA

Most people would like to help a good cause if they are able, but sometimes they’re not sure how to go about doing it. Instead, they go on with their daily lives and tune out the misfortunes of others. But, since they don’t really think about it, their conscious remains clear.

However, one major retailer recently teamed up with a large charity to bring a war zone to a peaceful country. Shoppers in Norway went to buy furniture and housewares in a local IKEA, and they encountered what it feels like to live in the middle of the war in Syria.

Ikea Syria Home

Syria in Norway

The display inside the Norwegian store was a 25-square-meter replica of an actual home in Damascus. It was built of realistic materials (not just false backdrops), and it was mixed in with the other kitchen displays selling Scandinavian housewares. The price tags looked just like the others around the store, but they actually contained information about how people are living in Syria right now. Since that didn’t quite meet the whole goal, they also provided instructions on how people could donate to help the Syrian residents.

The Important Partnership

This was a major effort by IKEA, but they made sure it wasn’t all about them. It was done as a partnership with the Red Cross, and that was helpful for a few reasons. First, it added a lot of depth and credibility to the campaign. It’s obvious that IKEA doesn’t have a direct presence in Syria, so they would have to partner with some organization to make an impact. Next, both brands generally have a positive image (even though they’re very different), and putting them together will build a comparison in the minds of consumers that’s likely to last a while.

Ikea Red Cross Campaign

Advertising Is No Longer Just Advertising

There was a time when advertisements were fairly simple, and their whole purpose was to increase sales. Those times are gone. Consumers now want to feel connected to a brand, and they want to know that they share similar values. Advertising has to be a way to get into lives of average people, and only then will it influence their purchasing decisions. Shoppers aren’t always only interested in the lowest price or the highest quality. We’re seeing a growing trend that people want to be part of ethical movements, and unique marketing campaigns like this can be the way to convince them.

Results of the Syrian Home

This display was set up for less than a month, from October 17-31, 2016, but it made a big impact during that time. It raised about 22 million euros of donations that went to the Red Cross in order to help in Syria. Plus, more than 40,000 people visited the display each week, so it likely made a lasting impression on all of them.

Ikea Red Cross Syria

IKEA’s Social Causes

IKEA, like many other large corporations, tries to have a positive image with regards to Corporate Social Responsibility. They often focus on sustainability issues, which is logical since they are primarily a manufacturing company. However, they also try to help people and the planet, so this matches with one of their clear goals. It wasn’t just a random publicity stunt.

Charities Can Benefit

In this case, the Red Cross could have set up a similar house on a street corner in a major city. That would’ve attracted a lot of attention, but it’s unlikely it would’ve had as much of an impact as it would in a store that many people are familiar with. Charities can usually benefit from any help that they are offered, but assistance from a popular company can turn customers into humanitarians.

Ikea for Syria Guerilla Advertising

Brands Can Bring Problems Closer to People

This was especially powerful since it was based on a real home, and the display gave information about the people who live in it. Also, the contrast was highlighted by the fact that it was next to the normal scenes of Scandinavian homes that shoppers were used to. While they were imagining they’re own kitchens and bedrooms, they faced the hard truth of seeing how so many unfortunate others are living.

Ethical Companies Have Strong Brands

Marketing isn’t always about raising sales. In this case, shoppers sent money to the Red Cross, not to IKEA. But, this will benefit their brand as a whole. Now they’re viewed as a company that helps those in need, and that will motivate shoppers (often on a subconscious level) to purchase from the company that’s trying to save the day.

Can Your Company Help?

Have you ever thought about a similar campaign for your company? You don’t have to help someone who’s on the other side of the world, and instead you could offer support to someone right here in your own community. We would love to give you the assistance you need to bring positive change to the world, so give us a call, and we’ll be proud to be part of your marketing mix.

McDonalds Pick n Play

McDonalds Pick n Play Billboard Game

From a young age, McDonald’s does a great job of pushing its image of a playful wonderland right into your head. That works pretty well, but eventually you grow up, and Ronald McDonald becomes less and less interesting as the years pass.

But, it’s not only children who like to play. Adults may be too shy to order a Happy Meal, but they enjoy having some games in their life.

A few years ago, the fast food chain managed to get full grown adults to unleash their inner child. They even managed to make it happen in a crowded square.

But, how did they do it?

McDonalds Pick n Play

A Playground for All Ages

To set the scene, take yourself back to the year 2011, and imagine you’re walking through the streets of Stockholm, Sweden. Now, look up at the giant Golden Arches on a billboard, and pull out your smartphone.

Are you ready for a game? It’s not difficult. As a matter of fact, it’s pretty similar to the game of Pong. The digital display will bring up a video game in which a ball starts bouncing from one side to the other. Using your phone, you move a paddle up and down so the ball doesn’t escape.

Who wouldn’t want to give it a try?

The Details of the Game

This stunt was put together for McDonald’s by DDB Stockholm, and it was quite a hit. Many people participated because it was so easy to do, and if they played well enough, they could win a prize.

The game didn’t require an app download or any other complicated procedure. All people had to do was go to the website that the billboard advertised, and it used their location data to make sure they were actually there.

Consumers got to play, and they had to survive for 30 seconds. If they did, they were rewarded with a coupon for free food at one of the nearby restaurants.

McDonalds Billboard Game

Lack of App Was Key to Success

One of the major reasons this campaign was successful was because of how simple it was. When doing something like this today, many people will instinctively decide to ask consumers to download an app to play along. They even try to build that app in a way that the users can take it with them and play later, and it’s seen as a great reminder of the brand.

While that method can work, it causes a major entry barrier to anyone thinking about participating. That was the real beauty of this one. There weren’t any downloads necessary, and the players didn’t have to register. They just visited the website, played the game, and (hopefully) won.

Then, they popped into a McDonald’s to enjoy their delicious trophy.

Gave Unexpected Interaction to Customers

Another great feature of this campaign was the interactivity it offered. Billboards are often used to advertise a competition or communicate results of something happening, but they’re very rarely the actual game board. Good signs are passively seen and melted into the subconscious of the potential consumers, but it’s proof of a great idea when people want to stop and actively discuss it with each other.

Pick n Play Billboard Game

Free Prizes!

An additional clever aspect of this plan was the call to action that was disguised in the form of a prize. Instead of just suggesting that customers stop by for lunch, they gave them the incentive of free food. They may or may not buy lunch during that visit, but they’ll remember the location (and hopefully the good experience they had) next time they’re in the area.

Also, bragging to friends about winning something for free is always a great way to encourage word-of-mouth communication.

Do You Use Mobile in Your Campaigns?

If you haven’t ever tried integrating mobile experiences in your campaigns, this is a great example of why you should. Don’t forget that it can go far beyond mobile ads or having an app that makes it easier for your customers to interact with your company. Smartphones are a major part of life in the 21st century, so consider them just as strong of a medium as billboards, radio/TV, print, and online channels.

 Not The First McDonald’s Billboard Game

A year before this billboard happened, the same agency created a similar sign for the burger chain. It was less interactive because it only required customers to snap a photo of fast moving foods, and they could show that for a real version of the item for free in a local McDonald’s. As mobile technology improved, the fancier version was possible. Just imagine what we can do now!

Game On!

Have you ever had a similar idea for your business? At bMedia Group, we love to be a part of making these amazing concepts come to life, and we’d be happy to talk about how to turn your creative thoughts into a reality.

Chicago Cityskyline

Puerto Rico Melting the Chicago Snow

Chicago is a great city, but you’re going to have a hard time finding someone who doesn’t complain about the brutal winters. The intense cold and constant days of snow really start to get to the residents, and they eventually begin to dream of an escape. Naturally, many think of sitting on a sunny beach somewhere, and they imagine feeling the sand against their skin.

Well, if that’s what they want, then why not give it to them? Puerto Rico figured out a way to do just that, and it let to quite a few residents of the Windy City throwing sandals and sunscreen into a suitcase.

A Competitive Problem

Chicago Cityskyline

Like most islands in the Caribbean, the warmth and sunshine of Puerto Rico make it a popular place for tourists to visit. Not surprisingly, many of these people come fleeing the colder winter months in the US, and a lot of them call Chicago home. But, the challenge for Puerto Rico Tourism is always how to motivate people to come to their beaches when so many others are about the same distance away.

Many times, the plan has been to go after the ease which US citizens can visit, and they highlight that it feels like an international trip, but a passport isn’t required. However, this message tends to get less exciting over time, and it can really pay to try a new strategy every now and then.

Fortunately, JWT Puerto Rico and Puerto Rico Tourism came up with a clever solution for this problem.

Puerto Rico Melts the Midwestern Snow

Puerto Rico Melts the Midwest Snow

February of 2016 saw a van driving through the snowy streets of Chicago. The pictures on the side showed a tempting beach scene, and there was a very strong contrast between that feeling of warmth and the cold air outside. But, this particular campaign was more than just a rolling billboard.

The van was loaded with sand that had been shipped from Puerto Rican beaches, and it was held in specially designed little buckets. These were handed out to the cold residents, and the lid proudly proclaimed that “Puerto Rico Defrosts Chicago.” It went on to talk about the average yearly temperature on the island, and it had some special offers for anyone thinking about making a trip.

But, Why Sand?

It may seem strange to go to the trouble of sending sand such a long distance, but they had a specific reason in mind. The aim was to let the residents use the salty substance to melt the snow on the walkways in front of their houses. In fact, many people returned home to find a bucket sitting there waiting for them.

Extra Points for a Clever Name

Puerto Rico Melts Winter Away

Their message that “Puerto Rico melts winter away” is witty because it follows an unusually literal strategy. It’s easy for a tourism organization to make a claim about that, but when it’s a fact (not just an exaggeration), people really start talking about that.

Take it as a lesson to search for similar sentences in your advertising.

Who Need’s Fancy Technology?

A lot of the hottest ad campaigns use cutting-edge technology, but this is a perfect case to show why that isn’t always necessary. The fanciest bit of machinery in this one was a van, and the primary piece was sand. Sand is basically free, and it’s the complete opposite of the fancy tech we have in the 21st century.

In other words, spending a ton of money isn’t always necessary to get some attention.

Media Mixtures

Another aspect of this campaign that really made it stand out was the mixture of the types of media involved. Usually, the only way to demonstrate travel is with photos or stories. Otherwise, it’s almost impossible to bring anything to potential customers or interact with them in any other way. So, this was a genius way of doing it.

Plus, it’s always great to have many different dimensions for campaigns. Your customers can see your billboard, read your email, get a coupon in a store, or hear an ad on the radio, and it will all connect together to gain some loyalty.

Do You Have a Similar Idea?

Don’t worry if you don’t think your business will benefit from handing out sand – that’s not the message we’re trying to convey here. The point is that creative thinking can go a long way, and the most basic ideas can see great results.

We believe that billboards are a critical piece of any campaign in Puerto Rico, and we really love being a part of something creative and fun. If you have any ideas that you’re trying to figure out how to pull together, go ahead and reach out to us. We’re happy to do some brainstorming to help with your brand building.