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

This case presents the story of how IKEA managed to make its product experience accessible to an audience often neglected by furniture manufacturers: people living with disability. We achieved this by tapping into insights from special needs communities, and by implementing advanced 3D printing technology.


Ikea’s mission is “To create a better everyday life for the many people’”. Our ultimate brand experience is achieved when we provide well-designed furniture that is functional and affordable for the masses.
So when we found out that 1 in 10 people suffering from a disability are struggling with the usability of many of our most iconic items, we knew that it was an opportunity to take our brand experience to the next level.
The complications ranged from difficulty opening our “Billy bookcase” closet to getting up from our “Karlstad” sofas, and we knew we had to innovate each item head on in order to maximize the functionality of each piece of furniture.
The brief was simple yet challenging: How can we create a better everyday-life for people with special needs? How can we make IKEA more accessible?
Campaign objectives:
1. Tap into the market of people living with disability by giving democratic access to IKEA’s most iconic product experience.
2. Communicate and promote the solution to the specific audience of people living with disabilities.

Describe the creative idea (20% of vote)

ThisAbles project hacks the iconic home-furniture giving extended access to IKEA’s design experience and simplicity in an affordable and easily accesible format,
By collaborating closely with people with disabilities, we understood that they are actually surrounded by bulky, unpleasant, medicalized designed furniture which is not fully adapted to their needs and is in fact more expensive than the regular furniture.
In partnership with the leading accessibility non-profits, MILBAT and Access Israel, during a one-week hackathon, hosting product engineers, accessibility experts, psychologists, IKEA designers and consumers themselves - we created a range of add-ons, easy to assemble on IKEA’s most iconic furniture, making it accessible for everyone. From sofa elevating-legs for easier ascent, to lamp button-enlargement or super-zipper for pillow-covers.

Describe the strategy (20% of vote)

In order to create a real 360 comprehensive IKEA EXPERIENCE, we had to exceed expectations, to ensure 2 major conditions are fulfilled:
Firstly, we had to provide the IKEA design quality: beautiful, functional, and simple. Secondly, it had to be affordable and easily accessible.
So, instead of creating a special line of products, which would have been be more expensive and not easily scalable, we decided to propose a range of special ability add-ons that tweak the most iconic IKEA products, making IKEA experience accessible to people with disabilities.

Describe the execution (30% of vote)

To deliver a comprehensive and a total brand experience, we made it fully accessible, online and offline, through each and every touchpoint. First, products were designed in a minimalist and precise way to simplify their use to the max. Then, the add-ons are available online to 3D print, from anywhere in the world. And to enable people with disabilities to watch, touch and experience them, we constructed the first-ever accessible space in the IKEA stores.
The project is open-source and continues to grow with the solutions proposed by users themselves, based on specific needs and insights, adding new solutions every month.
To promote the idea, we reached out to social media influences who suffer from disabilities themselves and who could demonstrate their experience in their communities. We told real human stories, of persons living with disability and the benefits the add-ons can bring to their lives. Our main spokesperson is Eldar, a disabled Israeli who is suffering of cerebral palsy.

List the results (30% of vote)

What started in Israel, proved to be a global solution through our online platform: More than 45,000 people from 127 countries visited our website and downloaded the add-ons. We also drove a 1500% traffic increase to websites of our partners - non-profit accessibility organizations. Finally, the visits to the IKEA website had a 28,5% traffic increase with 280,000 more unique visitors more than last year’s campaign.
The global access to IKEA retail footprint and experience turned ThisAbles into the biggest platform for people with disabilities
The campaign was covered 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 A-class influencers like Ashton Kutcher. From then on, we tapped into the local communities, driving the adoption of the project. The campaign finally reached 489 million people globally with an earned media value of $4 millions.
More importantly, this proved a viable business opportunity, as the sales of our iconic products supported by the add-ons grew by 37% in volume, while the revenue grew by 33% versus the same period in 2018.
Production Company:
Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity 2019
Gold Brand Experience & Activation
Consumer Durables
Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity 2019
Bronze Brand Experience & Activation
Tech-led Brand Experience
Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity 2019
Shortlist Brand Experience & Activation
Customer Retail / In-store Experience
Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity 2019
Shortlist Brand Experience & Activation
Social Behaviour & Cultural Insight
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