The Musings Of An Opinionated Sod [Help Me Grow!]

Cats Turn A House Into A Home …
April 19, 2011, 6:20 am
Filed under: Comment

So a while back, Mother did an ad for IKEA using cats.

This is that ad.

I love it.

Actually I more than love it, I adore it.

I can honestly say it’s one of my favourite ever TV ads … which means that on top of it being firmly cemented in my heart and mind, it also makes me hugely jealous and envious because I wish I had done it or – at the very least – identified it as a possible idea.

What makes it worse is [1] I have a moggy and [2] I have worked on IKEA … so all the factors were there if only I’d been clever enough … but that aside, I love it because I not only totally relate to it, but it makes me feel even more positively towards IKEA and Mother than I did previously, and I loved them both a lot. A hell of a lot.

I think IKEA and Mother often get a bad rap.

It’s all too easy to label one the home for shitty furniture and the other the place for frivolous advertising entertainment, but the truth is, neither are true.

Apart from the fact IKEA basically gives everyone the chance to live in a fairly nice looking home, regardless of their income [except in China, where proportionatly, it’s fucking expensive] it gives people choices, options and possibilities. You can take the piss out of their ubiquity or their in-store experience, but they have almost single-handidly made the average house a much nicer – not to mention, a better looking – home … and what the cat ad does, is highlight that whatever your tastes, space or budget, IKEA has something that allows you to turn your house, specifically into your home.

And that’s the thing, a home isn’t just about space or practicality … it’s much more than that … it’s a place where you feel, errrrm ‘true to you’ … and whilst Crispin did that wonderful ad that took the piss out of sentimentality, this ad seems to recognise that sometimes, it’s exactly that emotion that helps make you feel truly settled and while we all know they ultimately want you to buy a shitload of stuff from them, they’ve ensured they’re not saying ‘new’ is a loss of connection, just an extension of it.

Given the amount of times I’ve moved countries, I relate to this a lot.

While we always take our furniture with us, moving means you end up doing a bit of ‘spring cleaning’ [read: disposing] along the way and so we often find ourselves having to buy some new stuff for the house and more often than not, we do it in IKEA.

Infact it’s now got to the stage where I associate IKEA with moving/moved countries but here’s the thing, it’s only becomes ‘part of the house’ when Rosie – our pampered puss [that’s her above] – takes ‘ownership’ of it.

Doesn’t matter if it’s a sofa she sleeps on or a lamp she rubs her face against, when she acts like the new item is “part of the furniture”, that’s when I subconsciously feel I’m truly “in my own home”.

Maybe the ad works best for cat owners … I have heard it wasn’t as successful as IKEA hoped/wanted … but what I can say as an audience of one, is that from a ‘get people to buy perspective’, it not only worked, but it made me feel something towards the brand that went way beyond the place where you go to buy relatively cheap and innovative/practical furniture, but made me feel it was a place that let me always feel I was ‘home’.

Then there’s Mother.

I have a massive soft spot for them … always have, always will … but what I love about this ad is that it shows the World that they’re more than just a one-style agency, they’re a place that really knows people and how to connect with them.

Just like the AA work demonstrated HHCL’s brilliant way of looking at everything [including the beautiful touch of ensuring their emergency phoneline ended in the digits 999] and Chrysler’s superbowl spot showed W+K are about being clever, not cool … this IKEA spot forces people – mainly industry people – to re–evaluate what they think Mother are both about, and capable of … and given our hypocrisy of talking open-mindedness but actually embracing ‘pigeon holing’, that’s quite the achievement as well as the slap in the face.

71 Comments so far
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A lovely piece of work from a great agency. Your cat isn’t too bad either. The last paragraph sums up everything wrong with the industry and everything that sets some agencies apart from the rest of them.
This is an industry that is full of backbiting and jealousness and so it is especially pleasing to see Mother stop people in their tracks, even for a few seconds. They may have once started with the ethos to be cool, but they have developed to turn that energy in to being wickedly clever.
I’m with you Robert, this spot makes me jealous.

Comment by George

I correct myself, they’ve gone from mischief to cleverness, like someone else I could mention.

Comment by George

Thanks for the compliment George. I’m still not taking you to get some ink.

Comment by Billy Whizz

yes billy, george is talking about you. except youve not left the fucking mischief station yet and your ticket is a one way trip to fuckwitism.

Comment by andy@cynic

That’s nitpicking.

Comment by Billy Whizz

youre so fucking sickeningly nice auntie. i wont slag you off though, its my birthday on monday.

do you hear that blog fuckers, its my birthday on monday. send bank cheques to the usual fucking address. every $1000 gets a compliment from me to you.

Comment by andy@cynic

Happy Birthday Andy. The cheque is in the mail.

Comment by swati

You’re commenting very early George, slow day at the office?

Comment by Rob

Wouldn’t ikea find it hard to sell their stuff with cat hairs all over it? Irresponsible if you ask me.

Comment by Billy Whizz

Now if they had hot swedish blondes running all over it I might buy some of their stuff.

Comment by Billy Whizz


Comment by andy@cynic


Comment by andy@cynic

Sorry, I saw it as an ad industry ad. But then I’ve never had a cat and made my fist trip to IKEA last month so what do I know?

Comment by John

You made your first trip to ikea a month ago?

Comment by Billy Whizz

And what do you mean you saw it as an ad industry ad? Indulgent or “mother” was subliminally placed in it and your eagle eyes picked up on it?

Comment by Billy Whizz

The idea of long queues, indecipherable instructions and labyrinthine stores never really sounded that appealing.

In a time when attention is less focussed and more distracted than ever, it just struck me as a long arty ad complete with a how we made the ad video. The people involved may deservedly be praised for their creativity, but since most people here think advertising is about helping clients to sell stuff, it’s real bottom line effectiveness that should count.

While I like Rob’s explanation of it, I just saw a bunch of cats in a store and tuned out long before they got to the tagline. But, as I implied above, cats don’t have any resonance for me and so I didn’t get the home-completion idea from it.

Comment by John

thats because its the agency indulgent cut. i saw the real version and it gets to the climax much fucking quicker. something you should be very well aquatinted with eh doddsy.

Comment by andy@cynic

its not that bad. you could be a planner. or billy. and that would mean you “get there” without needing another fucking person in the room. in billys case its because he has no other fucking choice and in planners case, its because the sad delusional twats are in love with themselves.

Comment by andy@cynic

I dream of being a planner, Billy not so much.

Comment by John

you dream of being a fucking planner? i assume the only reason for that is because you see them as getting paid vast amounts for doing fuck all.

Comment by andy@cynic

where the fuck do you live, the fucking moon? how the fuck have you never gone to ikea in your 90 years on planet fucking earth, how? the us government are going to come and fucking get you to conduct a range of painful and fucking expensive experiments to find out how the fuck you have been able to resist the lure of shit flat pack furniture with a one tool can do all feature.

wonder how theyll feel after 6 months when they work out the reason is because youre a sad fuck who never leaves the house.

well fucking done dodds. what did you buy or was it a day trip like campbell and his billion chinese fuckers do every sunday?

Comment by andy@cynic

I didn’t buy anything. My companion was doing the buying. And I had to get special dispensation from my parole officer.

Comment by John

you went with someone. to ikea. that someone was a woman wasnt she. and she was hot. im not trying to take the fucking piss, im trying to save your cred because if you went there with a man or an ugly bird you might as well kill yourself now and get on with it.

Comment by andy@cynic

Yes and yes.

Comment by John


Comment by andy@cynic

I’m impressed with Andy’s “Sherlock Holmes” skills and John’s chivalry … afterall, there’d be no other reason he’d accompany a hot lady to IKEA is there?!

Comment by Rob

i think doddsy heard her say “would you help me screw” and didnt realise she was talking about a giant pack of flatpack furniture bollocks.

Comment by andy@cynic

i fucking like the ad. its fucking nice to see something well fucking shot but with an idea in it. better, its an idea that means something to someone even if theyre all bridget jones cat loving sad fucks who youd rather chew your own arm off than fuck.

ikea gets on my fucking tits. i do everyfuckingthing i can to avoid the place and then when i get fucking lured in i end up buying shit that makes my house look like a fucking licorice allsort, all mad fucking shapes and colours, because i take so long to get out the place i think im going to die and i want to use up all my cash to make sure ex #1 and 2 get fuck all out of me when im being eaten by worms.

and i like your last para too. i was at hhcl and hated those smug fucking bastards like jwt who called us oiks and low fucking class. those 80s fucking rejects thought they were so fucking superior so it was fucking great when we kicked the c*** (dont get your panties in a twist campbell, ive followed your fucking rules) all over the park then took them for a nice one way fucking ride down a secluded lane before coming back and taking their fucking clients out for a dinner and a shag.

like this post campbell. like how your cat looks like shes nervous about you coming home. you sick fuck.

Comment by andy@cynic

Best. Comment. Ever.

Comment by DH

i just keep getting better and better dont i.

Comment by andy@cynic

Well your comments are certainly on fire this week Andy.

And yes, the attitudes of some towards HHCL – especially in the early days – was terrible, it is also why I didn’t end up going to BBH because the wonderful Mr Hegarty said a rather disparaging remark at my interview and I thought, “I just don’t belong here”.

Lucky escape for him and the black sheep eh …

Comment by Rob

i bet the thought of you working at his shiny palace drove the fucker to drink except in bbh gentleman style, instead of shoving the stuff down the back of his fucking throat, he bought a fucking vineyard.

Comment by andy@cynic

I don’t like cats or ikea. But I like the ad, it kept me interested and mildly entertained and the payoff made sense which is better than most of the shit I see. B+

Comment by DH

b fucking +. simon cowells fucking love child is in the house. and just as fucking ugly as his father.

Comment by andy@cynic

And Mother turned an insight into an ad: how to transform a house into a home.


Comment by Carol L. Weinfeld

the next insight they need to play on is how cats turn grumpy planner fucks into doting, nostalgic and sentimental fools who have to buy new furniture every year because they’re allowed to scratch the fuck out of it.

i also like this ad. but i like cats. and i have a mild level of acceptance about IKEA, having also moved quite a bit.
and rob i have also used the “cat’s in the house” method for homes. and men.

Comment by lauren

maybe a “free cat with every fucking flatpack sofa” is the ultimate sales generating giveaway. as long as the moggy bastard has long claws and a bad attitude.

Comment by andy@cynic

you like men that scratch the fuck out of your furniture? you kinky fuck. makes me look at husband dodds with new found fucking respect. and fear.

Comment by andy@cynic

Is it sad that I actually like that as an idea. Well not the ‘scratch claws’ bit, but the concept of “give an abandoned cat a home” thing?

Could link in with our old Optus research about pet owners forming a disproportionate number of their audience base.

Comment by Rob

Your comment about Lauren’s choice of men is possibly one of the most disturbing comments of yours I’ve ever read on here, and that is definitely saying something …

Comment by Rob

no comment

Comment by lauren

actually, i just realised The Cat from Red Dwarf is responsible for a whole lot…

Comment by lauren

i still think hhcl should have flogged the aa campaign to alcoholics anonymous because “to our members were the 4th emergency service” would be fucking funny.

Comment by andy@cynic

I hate myself for laughing at this.

Comment by Rob

it’s brilliant. and fucking ironic that you came up with it.

Comment by lauren

If they did another one with Dogs….

Comment by elrick

I would have thought you’d of preferred to see black sheep.

And what the hell are you doing on here, apart from the fact your cred immediately has reset to zero, hasn’t Chaz & Freddie got work for you to do? Nah, I wouldn’t do it either.

Comment by Rob

Taking 5 min out to look at some comedy.

And Pussy.

And trying to continue , on brand, lowering the tone wherever I go. But I can see this will be a tough nut to crack.

Comment by steveelrick

You win a prize if you succeed.

I think my money is safe, don’t you!

Comment by Rob

And I like how you now use your full name so we can link to the best advertising blog on the internet thingy. Subtle.

Comment by Rob

Well done for posting something you actually like.

Comment by Marcus

I thought of you when I did it.

What I mean is I put the post up, then thought of you – not the other way round. Oh you know what I mean.

Comment by Rob

And don’t forget I once wrote about this wonderful campaign:

Plus I write about cats and people and parents and lots of lovely things. Infact, when you look at it, I’m possibly the most optimistic man in the entire World. Ahem,

Comment by Rob

Do like this…especially as a cat lover. But did find it a bit indulgent and brand free. In fact, i’ve always thought some version of the ‘making of’ film they did would have made a much better, more broadly appealing and on-brand ad.

Comment by Jon Howard

Hi Jon, it’s a bloody big honour to have you pop by but then given Leeds beat Forest, I expect the opportunity to gloat [but in a nice way, because you’re like that] was too much to resist. Ha.

Must admit I don’t think it’s that indulgent. OK, so it’s a 60″ ad which means it’s a bit over the top, but I personally found it quite connected to the brand throughout the whole process … but that could be because I recognised 95% of the furniture that was on the screen as stuff I have had in my house at some point, hahaha!

Hope all is OK with you and I agree, the ‘making of’ was bloody awesome …

Comment by Rob

I have never been to IKEA. I like cats.

This seems a little self indulgent, but the thought’s nice/the last 30 seconds is great.

But – sod advertising, Stoke are in the FA Cup final for the first time ever.

Comment by Will

You’ve never been to IKEA? Are you human?

Of course you’re not, you’re a Stoke fan – but I still hope you win the FA Cup, especially as it’s against those Mancs.

And what’s all this self indulgent stuff … I’d say the T-Mobile stuff is way, way, way more indulgent and every man and his fucking dog loves that stuff.

Comment by Rob

I dont.

But then again I dont have a dog so that disproves nothing.

Comment by John

I’ve just always moved into furnished houses/when I’ve bought furniture…it’s *ahem* been from Argos or something similar. IKEA’s not nearby.

The only time I’ll ever say an ad/film/song is self indulgent is when it seems to press home the same point for a long time. With T-Mobile, I didn’t know what was happening next (to a point).

I found it fascinating that most non comms folk on twitter loved it, and most comms people hated it.

Comment by Will

I knew you were posh

Comment by northern

I knew you were Northern.

Comment by Rob

Mother have always polarised opinion, which is good in an industry run by bean counters
They actually polarise my own opinion. Sometimes I love them sometimes I hate them.
50% of their work is genius, and they’ve managed to move beyond challenger, tertiary brands, to big fat market leaders. Stella, PG Tips, Ikea….
I think much of this is down to Dylan Williams, who’s managed to develop a planning style that (mostly) sparks work that always culturally provacative and commercially razor sharp.
That’s why I love ‘Cats’ and the kitchen and storage stuff, I suspect the objective was simple, Ikea just wasn’t the popular and populist brand it once was. Make it like that again, become the category definitive like it once was.

That’s when I love them. When I hate them, it’s when their gigantic egos and Shoreditch hipster tendencies get in the way of what they’re supposed to be doing. That’s why when the works great, it’s really great, but when it’s bad, it’s terrible.
Oh, and they’re hopeless at working with other agencies.

Comment by northern

I like it when you talk about HHCL taking the big boys apart.
Despite my average skills, when I have to work , with,or against ‘big agency people’ typically London or New York based, I always make sure they know I work in Sheffield. It’s always such fun taking them apart when they’ve assumed I’m even less capable than I actually am.

Comment by northern

The thing I loved about HHCL – apart from being geniuses and giving me a job – was that they really fostered this spirit of ‘us vs them’ or said another way, ‘the new way vs the old way’ … and given my need to have something to challenge to get me excited, it resonated with me deeply.

I completely resonate with the ‘disregard me at your peril’ view … mainly because, like you, I make sure ‘the enemy’ are allowed – even encouraged – to paint their preconceived, cliched view of me from the start … so that when I get to do my thing, it [hopefully] sees me pulling the rug from underneath them and I get to humiliate them and teach them a lesson at the same time.

Used to do the same when I was in a band … lull them into a false sense of security before striking. Childish, but also very rewarding.

And for the record, HHCL is still the best agency I’ve ever been at, even though I obviously am very proud and happy of everywhere else I’ve ended up.

Comment by Rob

thanks a lot for fucking nothing but at least im not funding your fucking extortionate salary anyfuckingmore. bet dan is over the fucking moon to read his newest pretend bigwig thinks he and his company are not as good as a bunch of english fuckers from the last fucking century.

Comment by andy@cynic

The Ikea cats and kitchen stuff were both magnificent. Keeping the quirkiness of Ikea but making it feel more stylish and relevant at the same time.

The main issue with the cat ad was that the breeds of cat used weren’t cute enough!

I think Northern’s point is spot on.

Comment by Rob Mortimer

Especially that hairless little bastard that jumped down from the table. The ‘behind the scenes’ clip has a much better selection of cute fluff – but I still love it whether people think it’s indulgent or not.

And the choice of music is sublime.

Comment by Rob

I’ve never seen that ad before but I really liked it. It has a nice mood to it. It’s calming, and warm and I reckon those emotions carry on to how you feel about home and thus the role that IKEA can play in shaping the home you want.

The actual instore experience is well, yeah… but I think they do what they do pretty well to be honest.

Comment by Age

Jesus – Age is back.

Better talk to Paul & Kev because writing comments on company time is a sackable offense.

[Welcome back by the way, you’ve been sort-of missed]

Comment by Rob

wait, were importing fucking criminals back into the country now? fucking piss weak bastard government.

Comment by andy@cynic

[…] love them all … however while everyone talks about the Wieden’s, Uncommon’s and Mother’s of the world, I think we should all acknowledge the incredible work AMV is doing right […]

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