Cannes Lions

IKEA Meatball Candle

OGILVY, New York / IKEA / 2022

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Overview

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Overview

Background

Fans of IKEA’s Swedish meatballs could easily be described as obsessed, and the dish’s cult-like status meant that legions of meatball lovers were faced with the burden of missing their go-to protein due to IKEA restaurants being indefinitely closed during the pandemic.

Luckily for IKEA, its customers, and meatball fans everywhere, the 10-year anniversary of IKEA’s loyalty program was fast approaching, providing an opportunity to keep the brand top of mind, to drive awareness and signups for the program, and to satisfy the meat-based needs that fans everywhere were craving.

The strategy was to spread the word about IKEA’s loyalty program using a satisfying hook that would dominate the news cycle in lieu of traditional paid media.

Idea

To gain attention from IKEA fans as well as potential converts, we made a limited-edition scented candle made with oils designed to replicate the olfactory experience of real IKEA Swedish meatballs. With notes of garlic, onion and meat, this candle was made available as a sweepstakes for IKEA Family members.

The candles were given away as standalone gifts as well as part of a “Store in a Box” package celebrating 10 years of their loyalty program, with miniaturized IKEA items representing each of the five senses. The jewel in the crown was the meatball candle, which captured the iconic scent of IKEA’s meatballs for every fan, and the world, to enjoy.

Simple, iconic imagery was used for organic promotion as well as assets for press outreach. Micro-influencers were leveraged to amplify the sweepstakes and whet the appetites of fans.

Strategy

After over a year of store closures and a shift to digital shopping, we wanted to drive customers back into stores and welcome them into the IKEA Family program. An IKEA store is an inspirational haven, a destination for customers to spend a full day browsing, shopping, and enjoying some Swedish meatballs. We wanted to trigger our audience’s scent memory to transport them back to IKEA and build desire for our limited-edition product to ultimately bring customers to the store and propel more sign ups into the IKEA Family program. Prior to launch, we secured partnerships with micro influencers to light the fuse of excitement, followed by organic social posts to fan the flames. We then capitalized on the virality to continue to pitch and land stories for lasting media coverage over a week’s time.

Execution

To gain attention from IKEA fans as well as potential converts, we made a limited-edition scented candle made with oils designed to replicate the olfactory experience of real IKEA Swedish meatballs. With notes of garlic, onion and meat, this candle was made available as a sweepstakes for IKEA Family members.

The candles were given away as standalone gifts as well as part of a “Store in a Box” package celebrating 10 years of their loyalty program, with miniaturized IKEA items representing each of the five senses. The jewel in the crown was the meatball candle, which captured the iconic scent of IKEA’s meatballs for every fan, and the world, to enjoy.

Simple, iconic imagery was used for organic promotion as well as assets for press outreach. Micro-influencers were leveraged to amplify the sweepstakes and whet the appetites of fans.

Outcome

With the help of a few simple organic social posts, communications pushed through owned media, and a small set of influencers and PR outreach, the meatball candle lit a fire across digital and broadcast media, landing hit after hit with zero dollars of media bought.

On top of landing segments on major programs like The Tonight Show, TMZ and Today with Hoda and Jenna, the candle also landed mentions in digital media outlets like CNN, USA Today, MSN, People, the CUT, Hypebeast, Paper, Travel and Leisure, Complex, Apartment Therapy and many others.

When all was said and done, the entire effort led to 145,460 new loyalty program signups, $96 million in sales during the promotion period, and a whopping 4.7 billion earned impressions, proving that sometimes the easiest way to people’s hearts is through their noses.

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