Capitalizing on the self-care craze.
In IKEA’s new 25-minute digital ad, the build-it-yourself furniture company has capitalized on the growing popularity of ASMR (or the autonomous sensory meridian response, for the uninitiated). This “delicious, tingly” sensation — brought on by whispers, hair brushing, and other soothing sounds — has sparked the video careers of millions of YouTube “ASMRtists.”
IKEA contribution’s to the genre features an anonymous actress and a fairly standard IKEA-accessorized dorm room along with a range of curiously pleasing, spine-tingling sounds. Dubbed “Oddly IKEA,” the campaign is inteneded to push dorm room accessories now that it’s officially back-to-school season. It’s interesting to think IKEA’s dorm supplies don’t simply sell themselves; I mean, can you even imagine a college dorm room these days without a Hektar floor lamp?
“We knew that ASMR videos are very popular, especially with young people, college students and IKEA co-workers,” Della Mathew, the creative director behind the ad told Adweek. “So we put two and two together. Our products are designed to help people every day. Our dorm room solutions help students relax after a long day. So we thought of content that does the same.”
Whether or not you’re heading to college, if you find yourself susceptible to ASMR techniques, the video is a textbook example of them. Between fluffing pillows, tapping bedspreads, and whispering product descriptions, the actress in the video offers a veritable sampler platter of typical ASMR sounds. As both a clever example of branding and a helpful tool, “Oddly IKEA” is kind of brilliant, really.
Unlike Bumble, with its feminist Instagram posts, or Heineken’s “Worlds Apart” ad, in which it tried to start a conversation about finding common ground with those who share polar opposite views (while selling beer), IKEA doesn’t appear to be courting controversy on its path to profits. Instead, it’s addressing our stressful times by tapping into an apparently widespread desirefor self-care, escape, and relaxation.
Sure, the Swedish minimalist multinational consumer is hoping you’ll react to its trendy sales pitch by buying something from it. But, hey, there’s something to be said for creating an ad with a legitimately effective service component, right?