"Sofa Sans"

Client: Ikea
Product: Sofa planning tool
Title: Sofa Sans
Media: Digital (Twitter)
Country: United Kingdom
Date Of Campaign: July 2019

Background: Everything IKEA does has hidden creativity that solves problems, often problems people don’t really notice, like water pooling in upturned cups in the dishwasher so they never dry properly. IKEA cups have a groove that drains the water out. It is part of their design philosophy that creates THE WONDERFUL EVERYDAY. There is of course an inherent problem with hidden creativity, it’s hard to get people to see it, never mind talk about it. Our task was to do just that, using a Sofa Planning tool. Yup, a sofa planning tool, which is not that exciting unless you have the specific problem of planning your sofa. Only 50 of the 250,000 visits a day were to use it to do just that, so it didn’t feel like we had a naturally viral meme just waiting to be unleashed on the world.Our strategy was to be patient, to use social listening to listen until something, anything, conversation worthy about the Sofa Planning Tool cropped up, then jump on it, make it a bigger story and put it in front of a bigger audience who’d find it interesting and memorable.

Idea: We listened and we found a small group of techsters subverting the Sofa Planning tool for their own amusement, drawing spiral sofas, labyrinthian sofas, creating words or letters and many phallus sofas - this gave rise to an idea. In response we released IKEA SOFFA SANS - a real, downloadable, usable font, built from 38 different sofa configurations on the sofa planning tool in multiple colours, 3D and 2D.Promoted via integrating with the pre-existing social threads, supported across owned social platforms, and a PR push - the font encouraged consumers to engage with the hidden creativity of our tool. The creative approach was designed to maximise PR and social reach by intersecting an audience of design geeks and mainstream tech interests. We were confident that design blogs, tech blogs and mainstream nerdist types would take up our story. To make sure they did, the font was co-created - we rewarded people with a free sofa for helping us to finish the font, by creating the punctuation marks. Therefore, the final version was completed by the public - extending the conversation, driving to the tool and encouraging the sharing of designs.

Results: Within 24 hours we’d released a fully working font. Within another 24 hours a total 84.2m impressions were generated and there were over 13,000 references across social. Also the day after release, we’d collected enough traction to became a UK Twitter moment and in total we earned £358k of free media. With minimal PR push we were picked up by Mashable, The FT, The Verge, CNET, FAST Company, Hypebeast, Design Taxi, Ad Age, Trend Hunter, The Drum, Marketing Week and many more keynote publications and accounts in the UK, but also the US and Asia (where the meme itself was meme’d).Thousands of people began actively searching the tool each day. It generated an increase in organic traffic to the tool of 6,695% in the 2 weeks either side of the campaign. And the effect lasted. In the same 2 week period, we generated an increase in traffic to the sofa planning tool of 4,247%. The tool saw an average of 7,000 hits per day, and average hours spent within the planning tool increased by 1,023%, as people experiencing the hidden creativity that lies in everything IKEA do.Our ambition was always to show the hidden creativity in everything IKEA does. We made the IKEA Sofa planning tool the most famous tool in the UK with no budget, just 5 IKEA sofas.

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