Cannes Lions


RETHINK, Toronto / IKEA / 2019

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Presentation Image
Case Film






Perceptions of IKEA are one-dimensional. People know IKEA for its simple affordable furniture, but they don’t know the human values behind everything IKEA does. To highlight their commitment to diversity and inclusion, IKEA decided to sponsor the biggest Pride celebration in Canada. But as more brands were starting to climb on the pride bandwagon, we needed to do something unique and memorable to stand out in a sea of rainbow washing. We couldn’t just declare our belief in equality, we needed to find an authentic shared connection with our audience.


We identified a use for IKEA products unique to the LGBTQ community - drag queens were actively drawing on IKEA’s products for inspiration for their designs. And what better way to celebrate pride than by celebrating the ingenuity and passion behind some of the community’s most notable creators?

We began by connecting with some of Canada’s most well-known drag queens and had them select IKEA products that inspired them. We then gave them free reign to create something beautiful. The result was DRÄG: a live fashion event, influencer social stream, online video, out-of-home campaign, and new social shopping experience.


Our target was the LGBTQ community and its allies. With more brands sponsoring Pride events in recent years, this audience was harder to reach than ever. To stand out and get noticed in a landscape cluttered with rainbow washing, we needed to identify an authentic connection between LGBTQ culture and the IKEA brand.

We found that shared connection on Season 10 of the popular show, Ru Paul’s Drag Race when contestant Asia O’Hara transformed an IKEA lamp into an incredible headpiece to complete her look. IKEA products have a long tradition of being hacked, transformed, and customized but this was something new. We wanted to tap into this cultural phenomena and amplify the creativity of the drag community.


We had our drag queens debut their looks at a drag fashion show in June 2018, with a live audience to cheer them on. Soon after, we teamed up with fashion photography company Istoica to capture their garments in all their glory. The queens took to social, live streaming the experience to tens of thousands of followers.

During the week leading up to the annual Toronto pride parade, we debuted DRÄG as a social video, which quickly became IKEA Canada’s most-watched piece of content. We also broadcasted the video as a television spot on OutTV, a channel specifically catered to the LGBTQ community. We then shared our editorial photos on Instagram, where followers could shop the look—a brand new way to buy furniture. Finally, we took the campaign out-of-home for the Toronto pride parade, where millions of people gathered and where IKEA employees marched for the first time.


DRÄG succeeded in breaking through the clutter of corporate sponsorships and connecting with the LGBTQ community. Our work got noticed, garnering 67.2M+ earned impressions on 25+ publications, including articles in Huff Post and LGBTQ media company World of Wonder.

With limited budgets, we set out to match IKEA Canada’s earned and social benchmarks and ended up breaking historical records. DRÄG had a 412% higher interaction rate compared to similar campaigns, while the photo album of the queen’s looks received the highest interaction rate of any content IKEA Canada content posted to date.

Most importantly, the video sparked an outpouring of positive comments of love and support in the LGBTQ community and beyond. Many prominent drag queens including Asia O’Hara herself re-tweeted our video.

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