Irresistibly Pointless Trueview Ads

AKESTAM HOLST, Stockholm / IKEA / 2018


1 Shortlisted
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The main challenge for Ikea is that the brand is more liked than the products. And there is a strong correlation between preference and liking of the products. All our ads therefore need to focus on the products. Within the concept “Where life happens” our brief was to reach a younger target group in Swedish metro areas (18-35 year old), a group that is hard to reach since they watch less and less linear TV and usually skip ads on Youtube as fast as possible. The overall objective with this activity was to drive preference and liking to the products and not short-term sales. We made three True View ads on Youtube with the objectives:

• 30 second average viewing rate within the target group

• Increase preference with +5% and

• product liking with +5% of the ones exposed to the True Views.


When most brands try to be as alluring as possible to make the audience stay longer than 5 seconds with an ad, we tried the opposite. Our insight was that watching other peoples’ lives is interesting when it rings true. Especially if you tell people NOT to.

In the ads we see teenagers doing everyday boring and private things. The camera is fixed and the actor/actors, well aware of us watching, addresses the viewer directly begging him/her to to SKIP AD since there is nothing to see. Zero reward for the viewer that keeps on watching, except for some occasional offerings from Ikea appearing on items in the set. The ads where up to 8:50 minutes long without conclusion or pun in the end. In an honest, transparent way we showed that Ikea is a natural part of peoples lives, even when it's boring, supporting our concept Where Life Happens.


The Youtube channel was our obvious choice for this activity, given our defined target group. When we used the Google analytic tool we saw that a majority of our target group skip ads within seconds, but also that they often engage themselves deeply in content on Youtube that at a first glance may seem irrelevant and strange. We realized this behaviour is not only about an interest in odd stuff but ultimately has to do with psychology and the fear of missing out (FOMO). It was obvious that our execution should signal that “you should really see this, because your friends probably will”. We realised that the best way to make people want to watch the ad was to tell them NOT to watch because the content is so boring and private, a reversed psychology that proved to be irresistible.


The ads ran on Youtube, from September 2017- January 2018 targeting the Swedish market. We had different versions and optimized them during the campaign based on performance. The total media spend where 38 000 USD and it got over 12 million unpaid impressions.

With the background in mind, we understood that we needed new creative content and a storytelling technique adapted for the specific format. We produced these TrueView ads that are endlessly long and everyday-like where the characters are so perceptive that they actually beg you to skip them. - Hey, here´s nothing to see!, - Hello, let go, why are you still here?

By using reversed psychology we successfully triggered peoples curiosity. We live in a noisy multimessage world where these spots came out as unexpected downtime. The idea also blended nicely with IKEAs overall concept Where Life Happens.


The average viewing rate for the ads was a whopping 3:15 minutes, which can be compared to an average for the category of approximately 6-8 seconds according to Googles own analyzes.

We exceeded the goal for viewing time by 1000 %. 39% of the viewers did chose to see the ads in their full lengths, the longest being 8:50 minutes. And the message stuck. According to Google Brand Lift Study the rate for consideration was "Best in Class" compared to other brands in the retail category. We exceeded the preference objective with 327% (57,12% not seen, 73,5% seen) equaling a +16,3% difference with those that had seen the ads.

The objective for product liking was exceeded with +386% (56,28% not seen, 75,6% seen) equaling a +19,32% difference with those that had seen the ads. Source: Google Analytics, Google Brand Lift Study, ÅH-websurvey 2018.

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