While a lot of Christmas ads go for saccharine, gag-inducing depictions of humanity at the zenith of its compassion, Ikea’s first ever Christmas ad, created by Mother, is one for the realists. Your house is a shit-tip, you’ve got friends coming over and you’re wracked with shame about your goblin hole. Your guilt is so heightened that the ornaments peppered about your abode start taunting you about your falling-apart furniture and messy ways – all in the form of a rap diss voiced by grime MC D Double E.
But never fear, Ikea’s got your back. In Mother’s new spot with the aforementioned nagging teapots and Newham Generals rapper, the guilt-wracked couple decide to give their lounge a well-needed spruce with some simple, but transformative, Ikea solutions. And voila, that night their party is in full-swing. Launching tonight (8 November), the 20, 90 and 60-second spots defy the traditional sickly Christmas ad trope – a trend you can also see in Walkers’ Xmas ad starring Mariah Carey.
“Our first and foremost objective was to create something that would stand out and cut through all sentimental, heart-warming Christmas noise,” the Mother team tells It’s Nice That. After reviewing IKEA’s research where employee visit homes across the UK to understand how people live, Mother’s strategists saw the theme of ‘home shame’ (feeling that your place isn’t good enough to host), and it immediately resonated with them.
“It’s an emotion we’ve all felt at one point or another, and especially at Christmas,” says Mother. “But what’s fascinating about home shame is that it’s completely internal. The voices telling you your home isn’t up to scratch aren’t from someone else – they’re the ones at the back of your head. We felt it would be fun to bring those voices to life as objects around the home, and we figured if we had to have voices dissing one another there’s no better medium to do that than grime.”
Writing a script that transformed the homeowner’s insecurities into a rap track, Mother and director Tom Kuntz then developed an unexpected and comedic line-up of ornaments that could torment the couple, from a novelty teapot and ceramic panda to a lucky cat and dinosaur toy. Mother says, “We tried to find things that people weren’t necessarily used to seeing come to life as that would make for the most surprising visual and music pairing.” VFX studio Electric Theatre Collective was then tasked with animating the huge host of unusual ornaments. They 3D scanned each object, applied photorealistic textures, before rigging and animating each to behave like the stars of a music video.
At the same time Mother was listening to a lot of different grime artists to find the voice who could “land the right level of humour whilst remaining 100% authentic to the genre,” Mother tells us. “There aren’t many people who can do that better than D Double E. We got him in the booth and it all just clicked. It was so much fun hearing this track come to life for the first time, especially when D started dropping ad libs.” Hearing D Double’s signature cry of “Bluku bluku” on an Ikea ad is quite the trip.
The spot, called Silence the Critics, will air tonight on broadcast and view-on-demand TV, at the cinema and through a digital out of home campaign. Ikea will also launch a social campaign showing customers how to avoid “home shame”, as well as in-store workshops including, virtual reality makeovers to Christmas “treetorials” and hosting hacks.