At a glance:
Print media has “a double word of mouth advantage” over digital media
New technology takes a back seat to a brilliant conceit that benefits the consumer
A consistency of campaign message cues recall and engagement
When Ikea and its creative shop, Åkestam Holst, took out a one-page ad in Swedish women’s magazine Amelia, it wasn’t long before they made global news.
Adweek, Bloomberg, The Guardian, Fastcodesign, Fox News… the trade and mainstream media loved the print campaign that doubled as a pregnancy test.
So, they shared it, fondly using words like ‘odd’, ‘funny’, ‘gross’, ‘weird’, ‘unorthodox’ – and also ‘undeniably clever’ – to fuel the water cooler and Twittersphere buzz.
Soon, what started life as a simple offer became a viral sensation, generating a tidal wave of warm brand sentiment.
It does what print does best
“Just like secrets, word of mouth spreads when the information source is perceived as credible and when the information itself is seen as new and exclusive,” says communication psychologist, lecturer at the London College of Fashion, and author of Connected Marketing: The Viral, Buzz and Word of Mouth Revolution, Dr Paul Marsden.
“This gives print media a double word of mouth advantage over digital media, because print media is typically seen as having superior ‘source credibility’ – it’s more believable – while creating the perception that the reader is ‘discovering’ content that has not yet been shared.”
More talk, in turn, usually means more sales. A Word of Mouth Marketing Association study found that on- and offline conversations and recommendations account for around 13% of sales – while two-thirds of conversations ultimately result in sales offline.
Åkestam Holst creative chief, Magnus Jakobsson, was never in any doubt about print’s ability to catalyse a wider conversation (or conversions), according to Adweek.
“Could it be more than just an ordinary ad for a baby crib stating a price?” he asked. “Could it prosper outside the boundaries of a magazine and go viral? Yes, it most certainly could.”
It’s disruptive – because it’s unique and useful
By encouraging women to pee on the specially engineered stock, Ikea was able to identify expecting mums – and serve up a 50% discount on an Ikea crib for a positive result.
The incentive was a nice touch. But really, it was the playful, edgy idea and execution – which the audience had never seen before – that cut through.