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ThisAbles | IKEA | McCann Erickson
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Industry: House, Garden & Pets
Style: Minimalism
Why is this work relevant for PR?

This case presents a story in which IKEA managed to tap into a completely new market by listening to insights from people with special needs, and activating underrepresented communities.
?IKEA decided to make its iconic furniture accessible for people with special needs. The agency response to the brief was to create a range of disability add-ons that make IKEA products accessible. The add-ons were available in store and online, to download, free of charge. To do this, IKEA partnered with two leading NGOs MILBAT and Access Israel. To promote this, our strategy was to reach out to social media influences who suffer from disabilities themselves - and could deliver our story to their communities. We communicated human stories, of real people living with disability and the benefits the add-ons to the IKEA products can bring to their lives.
?What started in Israel, became a global story through organic media coverage by major titles like Independent in UK, Washington Post in US, Fast Company, CNN Espanol, The Verge, etc... This helped us to organically activate influencers and micro-influencers, from different markets, starting with individuals such as Ashton Kutcher. From then on, we tapped into the local communities, driving the adoption of the project. The campaign reached 500M people globally with a PR value of $4M. And the campaign website received visits and downloads from 127 countries world wide.


1 in 10 people in the world suffer from motor disabilities. For them daily tasks we take for granted (like turning on the light, getting up from a sofa) are an everyday struggle.
As the biggest furniture brand in the world, we knew that it’s our job to make a real change, by giving access to the iconic IKEA products to an overlooked audience, who is often over-charged for what are often medicalized, limited scale design solutions.
The brief was straightforward: to bridge the gap between IKEA’s products and the special needs of people with disabilities.
Campaign objectives:
1. Create a solution for people with disabilities in the IKEA furniture range.
2. Communicate the solution to the intended specific audience of people with disabilities.
3. Spark a positive sentiment about the brand by building awareness and generating a conversation around the issue of accessibility.

Describe the creative idea (20% of vote)

Instead of creating a special line of products, which will be more expensive and not easily scalable, the agency decided to propose a series of add-ons that make iconic IKEA products accessible.
Tapping into insights from the users themselves, we created 13 add-ons, easily assembled on IKEA’s most iconic furniture, making it accessible for people with disabilities. From Sofa elevating-legs for easier ascend, to lamp button-enlargement or super-zipper for pillow-covers.
We made it fully accessible, virtually and physically: the add-ons are open-sourced, available for 3d printing, anywhere, anytime. And to enable people with disabilities to watch, touch and experience, we constructed the first-ever accessible space in IKEA stores.

Describe the PR strategy (30% of vote)

Although ThisAbles started as a local initiative by IKEA Israel, proved to be a global insight making our story spread organically with the media and in the relevant communities.
Our strategy was therefore focusing on letting the audience tell their out story. We have employed “people with special needs” as heroes of our communication, in a lighthearted and optimistic tone of voice.
On the other hand, smartly targeting the broadest range of media - far beyond design or life-style – to break the barriers of health PR, and get into the core of MAINSTREAM media.

Describe the PR execution (20% of vote)

We crafted a simple, authentic and purely-human video, showing different people with special needs, and focusing on our hero, Eldar, a disabled Israeli. Eldar talked about the challenges he faces at his own home, and afterwards we showed, mostly visually, how Eldar experiences a real change with our new add-ons.
Through a targeted editorial strategy, we delivered a customized PR-pitch for a wide range of publications (technology, design, culture trends), across dozens of countries, so they can quickly and effectively create a meaningful story, with no money needed.

List the results (30% of vote) – must include at least two of the following tiers:

What started in Israel, proved to be a global story through international organic media coverage. Media indeed covered a very broad range of sectors, from the Washington Post, The Independent, to Fast Company, The Verge, sparking diverse conversations: from positive thinking and social responsibility, to product innovation and digital technology. Media used inspiring, game-changing descriptions for our products: from “democratization” and “revolution” and presented IKEA as a brave self-hacking brand that thinks out of the box to deliver a ground-breaking solution for people with needs.
This drove organic partnerships from A-list celebrities, as Ashton Kutcher, who shared our project, and made his positive-technology organization create their own showcase of our products. Special needs micro-influencers further amplified our message, by spreading in their local communities.
More than 45,000 people from 127 countries visited our website and downloaded the add-ons. We also had a 1500% increase in number of visits to the websites of our partners - non-profit accessibility organizations. Finally, IKEA website had a 28,5% traffic increase with 280,000 unique visitors more than last year’s campaign. The campaign reached 489 million people globally with an earned media value of $4 millions.
Most importantly, the sales of the supported products grew by 37% in volume, while the overall revenue grew by 33% versus the same period in 2018.
Production Company:
Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity 2019
Silver PR
Corporate Social Responsibility
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