November 5, 2018IKEA ad spotlights diverse American family celebrations

The concept of family in America is diversifying – only half of American households now fit the nuclear family stereotype. As a result, people want brand marketing to be more representative, which is why IKEA US has released a festive advert highlighting how norms have changed. We explore the insights behind the ad and understand how IKEA is representing modern America and its diversity.

Rebecca Smith

Created by Ogilvy, IKEA US's advert depicts a number of different households celebrating holidays such as Christmas, Ramadan and Hanukkah. Throughout, it depicts families of different ethnicities and ages, and groups of friends coming together to both celebrate and learn how different people celebrate according to their faith and culture. As a voiceover explains: "Our holidays don't all look the same – maybe that's what makes us great." It positions IKEA as a brand that caters to all in the holidays, "whether you’re with the family you’ve got, or the one you have chosen."

IKEA recognises the different family celebrations around America

"IKEA knows the importance of life at home and that the holidays look and feel different for everyone," says Christine Whitehawk, the external communications manager at IKEA US. In fact, one study identified as many as 10,276 different types of household in the US. And people want brands to reflect this in their marketing; 80% of American parents like seeing diversity in depictions of family life, regardless of what their own family unit looks like. It also impacts their perception of the brand; 49% of Gen Y parents saying they're more likely to talk to friends about products that show diverse family types in their ads and 41% say they are more likely to purchase those products as a result.

Rebecca Smith is a behavioural analyst at Canvas8, which specialises in behavioural insights and consumer research. She has worked with a number of global brands to help them better understand the mindsets of their audiences, from what people want from fake tan to how they feel about technology. Outside of work, you’ll find her binge-watching anime or with her nose stuck in a fantasy novel.

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