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10 . 12 . 18

Ikea: Between the sheets

Words by: Print Power
Ikea strikes again with a standout print ad. Only this time the technological wizardry is secondary to biological button pressing
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The power of print at a glance:

  • A well-executed print ad creates a clear point of difference in a cluttered, chaotic media landscape
  • Multisensory marketing boosts brand recall and leaves a lasting emotional impression
  • Marketers should “spend more time thinking about biology – and less time obsessing over technology”

Sleep is something we all… do. But for some of us, it can also be something we don’t do well.

When IKEA – self-styled “experts in sleep” – commissioned research into the sleeping habits of UAE citizens, it found that nine in ten people were falling short of the recommended eight hours a night.

A third (32.42%) were “seriously sleep deprived”.

No biggie, right? Wrong. A separate study, by Dr. Epameinondas Fountas of the Onassis cardiac surgery centre in Athens, reckons sleep-deprived adults are more likely to suffer a stroke.

And in his bestseller, Why We Sleep, British neuroscientist Matthew Walker argues that a proper night’s sleep can even help to ward off cancer – while making us happier, healthier and more attractive.

Creating an “immersive sleep cocoon”…

A soporific solution was clearly called for – and, in the wake of IKEA Sweden’s Cannes Lions-winning ‘Pee Test’ it came in the form of a smart, simple print ad that promised to help Emiratis “upgrade their sleep”.

The IKEA SÖMNIG (Swedish for “sleepy”) execution from Memac Ogilvy in Dubai was developed to live by your bedside and engage the senses – as a neat encapsulation of the brand’s “designed for life” philosophy.

A more passive alternative to counting sheep, it sent folks to sleep by emitting white noise that masked unwanted sounds, and a subtle lavender smell that relaxed the muscles and lowered the heart rate.

The sound waves, we’re told, even helped to circulate the scent – an ingenious use of technology and infused printing inks that successfully demonstrated how IKEA, through its mattresses, can deliver a good night’s sleep. Look – and smell – closely enough and you might even notice that the ad’s circular pattern is made up of bed images and printed with lavender ink.

Like most great ideas, the “sleepiest print ad ever made” was borne out of a real-life problem.

Memac Ogilvy’s Business Director, Tarek Shawki, says his twin boys were just 18 months old when the client brief came in – and that he and his family “struggled with sleep”.

“Friends suggested we use white noise and lavender moisturising cream to help induce a deep sleep. Seeing as this worked so well for our kids – and us as parents – I thought: ‘Why not do the same for IKEA?’ So our solution was a flat pack sleeping aid, in the form of a print ad.”

It’s about biology, not technology, dammit!

But was it really worth it, from a consumer point of view? Going to all that trouble?

Diana Lucaci, founder and CEO of  neuroscience research and strategy firm True Impact, says yes.

“Any savvy marketer understands that purchasing decisions are made at an emotional level. So engaging the brain beyond just the visual is a tried and tested method of driving response.”

Brands, she adds, understand the power of a tactile, multi-sensory experience in making immediate and lasting emotional impressions.

“[Marketers] should spend more time thinking about biology – and less time obsessing over technology”
Diana Lucaci
Founder & CEO, True Impact

Her belief is backed up by research True Impact carried out with Canada Post.

Using brain imaging and eye-tracking software to test the effects of multi-sensory marketing on individuals, the study showed physical media requires 21% less effort to understand and boosts brand recall by 70%.

It also supercharges the emotional intensity of a message – and its memorability. And at a time when many visual advertising efforts are simply ignored, the embedding of sound, scent and touch creates real stand-out.

Which is probably why FMCG behemoths – from Fanta and McDonald’s to Pizza Hut – have pioneered some pretty cool, creative, physical media solutions.

Marketers, concludes Lacaci, “should spend more time thinking about biology – and less time obsessing over technology”.