A woman runs her hands over a fitted sheet in a new 25-minute digital spot from Ikea, and then she asks viewers to listen to how nice it sounds when she smooths the sheet out. It might seem like an odd move for the brand if you haven’t heard of ASMR, or autonomous sensory meridian response, which is a tingling feeling some people experience when they hear certain sounds.
The new campaign, “Oddly Ikea,” from Ogilvy in New York touts Ikea’s back-to-school products for college dorms. In the ad, a woman who isn’t ever fully shown displays various products—a duvet cover, hangers, a lamp—and taps, fluffs and pushes on them so they make different soothing sounds to elicit a positive ASMR feeling for viewers.
“We were shooting a back-to-college TV spot and wanted to extend it into online content,” explained Ogilvy’s creative director Della Mathew and Ikea external communications specialist Kerri Homsher in an email to Adweek. “We knew that ASMR videos are very popular, especially with young people, college students and IKEA co-workers. So we put two and two together. Our products are designed to help people every day. Our dorm room solutions help students relax after a long day. So we thought of content that does the same.”
While Ikea and Ogilvy didn’t work with any YouTube personalities or influencers in the ASMR space, they did “meticulous research into exactly how the ASMR community makes and produces their videos to make sure our own approach to the genre felt authentic,” according to Mathew and Homsher.
“A series like this is very much in keeping with the Ikea character,” they said. “Plus, the format of ASMR videos allows you to deliver product benefits in a pleasant, calming way, something a TV spot or print ad doesn’t always succeed at. We hope this demonstrates to everyone who watches that Ikea has solutions that make your home work better. But really, we hope it does what it’s supposed to do: help everyone who watches it relax a little.”
In July, Ikea released a back-to-school spot that used influencers on Snapchat to target millennial consumers.
Ikea and Ogilvy also created a few short ASMR spots (below), each focusing on one product.