Moving Day – IKEA

Moving Day – IKEA

Best Insight (SILVER)
Best Use of Media (SILVER)

Client Credits: IKEA
Deputy Marketing Manager – Hilary Lloyd
Jungle Media – Connection Planning Director – Brooke Leland
Jungle Media – Media Buying Supervisor – Krystal Seymour

Agency Credits: Leo Burnett, Toronto
Chief Creative Officer – Judy John
Creative Director – Judy John, Lisa Greenberg
Group Creative Director – David Federico, Morgan Kurchak
Copywriter – Morgan Kurchak
Art Director – David Federico
Designer – David Federico
Producer – Anne Peck
Group Account Director – David Kennedy
Account Director – Jennifer Kelly
Planner – Brent Nelsen, Dustin Rideout
Project Manager – Lyndsay Cattermole

Crossover Notes:
All winning cases contain lessons that cross over from one case to another. David Rutherford has been identifying these as Crossover Notes since CASSIES 1997. The full set for CASSIES 2013 can be downloaded from the Case Library section at

Crossover Note 5. The Total Brand Experience.
Crossover Note 7. Fighting for the Same High Ground.
Crossover Note 10. Conventional Wisdom—should it be challenged?
Crossover Note 29. Pre-emptive Media.

To see creative, click on the links that are embedded in the case.


Business Results Period (Consecutive Months): June 25-26, 2011
Start of Advertising/Communication Effort: June 20, 2011
Base Period as a Benchmark: Same Period VYA

a) Overall Assessment

Becoming relevant when you’re the last thing on people’s minds. Now that’s a challenge.

Like any retailer, IKEA is under constant pressure to drive greater store traffic and sales vs. their competitors. With mega brands like Home Depot, The Bay, Sears, The Brick, Brault & Martineau and 10 others competing for people’s precious décor dollars, competition is intense. [Crossover Note 7] Regardless, registers need to ring and merchandise needs to move, including during the summer when a daunting cultural spectacle happens in Quebec, and where IKEA wanted to increase sales the most.

We all know moving is hard. It’s even harder when 225,000 people are all moving on the same day. This is Fête du Déménagement, or Moving Day: a cultural phenomenon wherein every 1st of July weekend Quebec residents move. All of them. Well, maybe not all of them but it sure feels that way. In Montreal alone, 13% of the total population all moves on the same day.

(Source: Wikipedia – Moving Day (Quebec)

IKEA and other furnishing retailers’ offerings are at complete odds with the mindset of movers. It’s only when people move into a new space that IKEA truly shines in people’s lives. Moving Day is anything but about buying more things…it’s all about streamlining what you have to minimize the packing.

Because everyone moves at once, the stresses of relocating become exponentially compounded. People have an overwhelming sense of chaos, unpreparedness and overall angst. There’s a lack of movers, friends and available supplies, and the essentials to ensuring a successful move are often completely absent. So if IKEA were to have any chance at increasing traffic and sales during this time, they had to find a way of inserting themselves in a meaningful way. 

Our challenge: find a way to reach an unreceptive and unresponsive target during a time when home furnishing purchases were the least of their concerns, and certainly not top-of-mind.

Together, we saw this as an ideal opportunity to demonstrate the brand’s powerful human purpose – to create a better everyday life for the many people – and help move IKEA into the hearts and minds of all Quebecers, and Quebecers into an IKEA store. [Crossover Note 5]

b) Resulting Business Objectives

Moving Day was developed by close collaboration between the creative agency, media partner, and client leads. The idea was without precedent at IKEA, and the objectives were simple:

1. Increase store traffic from the previous year

2. Increase store sales from the previous year

(Source: IKEA Canada 2011 Business Plans & Agency Briefing)

The challenge was so daunting that any increase in traffic and sales would be considered icing on the cake for IKEA, as results would be incremental to the regions’ forecasts. 

c) Annual Media Budget

d) Geographic Area
Montreal, Quebec

a) Analysis and Insight

A strategy mandated by utility.

To succeed, we had to challenge conventional strategic, creative and media approaches that would typically rely on simple push media, product benefits or reasons to believe. [Crossover Note 10] We had to demonstrate utility to the task at hand  to be noticed at all. Moving Day is insane, so you’d better be ready to lend a helping hand.

Driving traffic and sales would clearly be no easy task. Through studying the human behaviour at play during this time, we uncovered two significant barriers that would have to be addressed to get the IKEA registers to ring:

  1. The Mindset of Anxious Urbanites. Young urban dwellers in Montreal have more to move than can possibly be packed by themselves. Why so much stuff? Because they’re renters who relish their life at home, eager to make it the most inspiring, beautiful place to spend time with others. So anything and anyone who can’t be of some help isn’t of any value: time or attention.
  2. Scarcity. Since 13% of Montreal’s total population relocate on the same day – hiring movers or vans, getting boxes and moving supplies, snagging friends and cars to help out with the move is virtually impossible. It’s not uncommon on Moving Day to see dozens of people walking down the street with a bed balanced on their head and a wagon filled with dishes!

These barriers helped us see a huge opportunity to demonstrate the brand’s purpose and help move our Anxious Urbanites from a feeling of disorganized desperation to a state of composed and organized optimism.

b) Communication Strategy

We would show the people of Quebec that a move organized by IKEA is a move made better.

We identified an iconic symbol of moving not only as an embodiment of IKEA’s purpose, but also as the quintessential medium and message all in one.

a)Media Used


-Wild Postings

-Branded Boxes

b)Creative Discussion

Shifting media from ignorable to indispensible.

How do we help a city that is consumed by the chaos of 225,000 residents all moving over the same weekend — while simultaneously increasing store traffic and sales?

By the deceivingly simple act of creating a media vehicle of real value: moving boxes.

These weren’t just any moving boxes; we transformed the ordinary, average dull brown cardboard box into the compelling, central media and message behind our campaign. [Crossover Note 29]

We recreated what a box was and could be. 



Our boxes were printed with moving tips, a checklist, a helpful dinner offer at the local IKEA to keep you fed until the kitchen is unpacked, and of course a great offer on new IKEA furniture for the new place. Heck, we even showed them how to turn the box into a fully functional chair when the moving energy ran out.

c)Media Discussion

To achieve high visibility, reach and frequency, boxes were posted around the city in easy to find, high traffic locations where our Anxious Urbanites could be found. The boxes were distributed, assembled and hung flat on walls: designed to be the hardest working posters ever. When the boxes were taken, we had messaging underneath telling people to keep coming back for more.

All over the city, Anxious Urbanites kept grabbing the boxes faster than we could replenish them. To really rise above the Moving Day madness, we created massive 14-foot pyramids of boxes at giveaway sites around the city and at the IKEA store.

To add additional reach and frequency, we also promoted the boxes on radio, and took over local radio stations to ensure the sound waves resonated with music specifically chosen to get people moving, commercial free, on the actual day.

a) Sales/Share Results

Results worth building a store over.

  • Total weekend sales increased 15% vs. the comparable year-ago period
  • Total weekend visitors increased 8% vs. the comparable year-ago period

b) Consumption/ Usage Results

c) Other Pertinent Results

d) Return on Investment

a)General Discussion

Significantly, for IKEA, the sales increase from our ‘cardboard box’ was equivalent to the average weekend sales of an IKEA store. 

b)Excluding Other Factors
Spending Levels:

All results reflected in the case were achieved without any increase in marketing, advertising or promotional spending. Total budgets were flat VYA and consistent with previous year’s investment levels. 


All results reflected in the case are not a result of price changes. No change in product pricing occurred during the period of this case. Pricing of all IKEA products was consistent with previous year’s price points.

All results were achieved without extraordinary discounting. Any discounting of product in annual IKEA flyers was applied to similar to the previous year’s. The only discount offered to people was on food at an IKEA restaurant. 

Distribution Changes:


Unusual Promotional Activity:


Other Potential Causes: