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Pee on this Ikea print ad, and if you’re pregnant, you get a crib half price


Ikea is known for pushing the creative boundaries of advertising but this latest experiment literally takes the piss. The retailer has published a print advert in Swedish women’s magazine Amelia that acts as a pregnancy test, inviting readers to pee on the paper and, if the result reads positive, they’ll get a crib for half price.

Created by agency Åkestam Holst in conjunction with material technology company Mercene Labs, the ad shows the crib with its price listed alongside – just as a standard print ad would. When pee is added to a section of the page (shown via pipette for the instructional video) that uses technology similar to a home pregnancy test, the paper changes colour to reveal a new price – dropping from 995 SEK to 495 SEK. The tagline reads: “Peeing on this ad may change your life.”

“In order to make the interactive functions of this ad work in reality, we had to make several technical advancements,” Åkestam Holst tells AdWeek. “The pregnancy test strip was used as a starting point, which relies on antibodies that bind to the pregnancy hormone hCG, resulting in a colour change.

“For scaling up of this technique and adopting it to the physical format of a printed ad, Mercene Labs has used their experience in development of surface active materials for microfluidics and medical diagnostics. Careful selection of materials, together with a controlled capillary flow have been crucial for the success of this project. Technical advancements made during the work with this campaign have the potential to improve medical diagnostics.”