image of a bus stop advertisment as part of Ikea's outdoor advertising campaign

Ikea’s Outdoor Advertising Campaign for new Exeter store

Ikea take their marketing very seriously. They say they work with their ad teams as closely as they work with their furniture designers. In advertising, consistency is as important as creativity. So Ikea like to work with one ad agency over a long period of time. It helps them develop an overall marketing strategy that maintains coherence between different ad campaigns.

Ikea’s The Wonderful Everyday campaign, like its name suggests, aims to make people see the aesthetic value in their everyday lives and the furnishings and decor that accompany it.

These bus stop panels give audiences a glimpse into their world if it were populated by Ikea’s iconic minimalist furniture:

image of a bus stop advertisment as part of Ikea's outdoor advertising campaign

When sitting inside the bus stop, commuters are treated to a beautifying experience, livening up the world around them and introducing the new store opening date.

Linking TV ads to Outdoor advertising

At the heart of the campaign is a TV ad featuring a “lion man” lounging in his Ikea furnished home, only to reveal he is a dad taking a break from his child’s birthday party.

The ad takes a leaf from the John Lewis ad playbook, using humour and warm, family-focussed sentiment to create an emotional attachment with its audience. This is part of Ikea’s desire for, “the brand to be about more than price,” according to Laurent Tiersen, the chain’s UK marketing manager.

John Lewis’ TV spots are very much the flagship feature of a campaign. Ikea’s Wonderful Everyday campaign around their Exeter store really pulls out all the stops when it comes to out-of-home creatives.

This is because their goal is to get customers through the doors of their brick and mortar stores (Exeter is the Swedish retailer’s 21st UK site). That means bridging the gap between people watching TV at home and making the journey to their nearest Ikea outlet.

To do this, Ikea ran a series of local events in the area to “surprise and delight the people of Devon.”

image showing timeline of Ikea's Exeter Store marketing events timeline

The four-week long program in the run up to the store opening included film screenings, art installations, hot dog stands, comfy outdoor furniture to facilitate riverside hangouts, and much more besides.

A boat made by a local artist out of Ikea glassware:

image showing a boat made by an Exeter artists out of Ikea glasses as part of their outdoor advertising campaign

A Viking ship arrives with a supply of Ikea jam for a cream tea experience with a Swedish twist:

image showing Viking ship in Exeter quay for Ikea's outdoor advertising campaign
Image from

Ikea build community links using out-of-home advertising

At every step of the way, the out-of-home portions of Ikea’s campaign focussed on making links with the local community. Even when huge budgets like this aren’t involved, OOH has always been about making those kind of community connections and giving your brand a public presence in your local area.

Ikea products and their assembly become part of the famous furniture brand’s creatives ahead of their new store opening.

Promoting store openings with out-of-home

Ikea understand the importance of creating brand awareness using out-of-home. In the early stages of a brand’s life, this means making people aware of its existence in the first place. But brand awareness also means informing audiences of any developments in a brand’s range, or in this case, a new store opening.

image showing billboard advertisement of Ikea's opening of their new Exeter store

You of course don’t have to have huge budgets like Ikea to achieve this. We’ve written before about how popular clothing brand Seasalt raised awareness of a new store with a simple yet effective shopping mall poster campaign.

Audiences may be aware of a brand’s national presence, but not realise there is a store in their area. This “eureka” moment is a powerful way of driving footfall to a new site in the crucial few months after a new opening.

Ikea’s Exeter campaign took this principle and scaled it up in a spectacular way.

For all the novelty factor of Viking ships and Swedish cream teas, a solid poster and billboard presence was a crucial element to the campaign.

The power of billboards

Billboards offer companies a way to see their brand identity writ large. They project brand messages to a large area and have a big visual impact due to their size.

This is borne out by the facts. One study found that 71% of adults recalled seeing a billboard ad in the past month. Another study found that 74% of people who saw a billboard for a travel website took some kind of action after seeing the ad.

The power of out-of-home advertising

image showing an Apartment Sideways to Become a Rock-Climbing Wall as part of Ikea's outdoor advertising campaign
Image from

Ikea are an extremely innovative brand in many regards, but especially when it comes to the amount of thought and attention they pay to their ad campaigns. From creating a climbing wall in the style of an apartment on the side of a building, to an AR app that lets you try out virtual Ikea furniture in your living room. They are always innovating, and always presenting themselves as the home furnishing brand that does things differently.

If you want to know more about how to convey your brand identity through advertising, take a look at our guide to developing your USP. Want inspiration to add extra creativity to your out-of-home ad campaigns? Check out our post on billboard design tips.

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