IKEA Pride 2021: A campaign that won’t settle for lip-service

The campaign wants to encourage advocacy and action from IKEA employees

IKEA, the first company to “show a gay couple in a TV advert,” in 1994, continues its journey of being LGBT+ inclusive through its recent campaign with Given, a purpose-driven brand agency.

Given developed the IKEA campaign’s “creative concept”, this included multi-channel marketing content for use across IKEA’s 32 global markets and campaign materials for employees and external communications.

The campaign “supports the retailer’s wider social purpose to value the uniqueness and contribution of everyone, whatever their sexual orientation or gender identity and to ensure all LGBT+ people feel at home.”

The campaign’s actionable changes

The campaign focused on encouraging action from participants; this included promoting downloadable posters for employees for use in stores “combined with a poster-making workshop kit to encourage co-workers to consider and qualify what progress means to them.”

There was also a push for IKEA staff to correctly use pronouns with senior staff, including their preferred pronouns in their email signature and social media profiles.

Other actions from the campaign included putting up posters to promote STORSTOMMA + ENEBY IKEA products, where part of the sale proceeds went to local LGBT+ organisations.

Inclusive and intersectional messaging

Their “Progress is Made” strapline “grounded the campaign with an explicit reality that progress must be pushed through action” while its “made creative” complimented IKEA’s “build-it-yourself identity.” This was expanded into an “actionable challenge,” namely: “Let’s build a world where everyone can feel at home.”

Four LGBT+ people, including IKEA employees, were also featured in the campaign materials to represent “the huge diversity within the community.”

The campaign’s visual marker is its ‘Progress flag’, which was inspired by graphic designer Daniel Quasar‘s LGBT Rainbow Flag and was adopted by IKEA “with a long-term ambition to see it flying across all of its stores globally.” The flag includes the traditional six LGBT colour rainbow with additional black and brown colours to represent LGBT+ communities of colour and pink, light blue and white to represent transgender groups.

The flag features in the campaign’s visual marketing materials and campaign toolkit while markets have been encouraged to “use all colours in their materials” to symbolise “the need to be inclusive of the many identities within the LGBT+ community.”

A film was also made for internal and external use, which “captured a virtual conversation between four members of the LGBT+ community from across the world, exploring the topic of LGBT+ progress.” Like the flag, it gave an intersectional perspective, where each participant came from a different identity “to bring to the conversation about what progress means to them.” Edits of the film have been made for social media.

Becky Willan, CEO and co-founder at Given, said: “Moments such as Pride can sometimes lead to brands trying to align themselves with causes and issues that are not backed up by a wider commitment. This can lead to cringe-worthy campaigns that do more harm than good.

“For IKEA, this year’s Pride 2021 campaign is part of the brand’s long-term work on LGBT+ inclusion and their wider purposeful mission to ensure everyone feels at home. It is this depth of commitment to purpose and clarity on how a purpose drives action and positive change, which provides the starting point for designing creative campaigns that deliver real and measurable impact, such as this.”

Becks Williams, Given’s Creative Director, added: “At the outset, Ingka Group (IKEA) made it clear they wanted the campaign to touch on the issue of intersectionality within the LGBT+ community, but they wanted us to show this, rather than explain it. With its chevron of additional colours (representing LGBT+ communities of colour and transgender pride) joining the traditional LGBT rainbow, the Progress flag did this in such a sophisticated and clear way it became a central source of inspiration for us.

“Creatively, it was also a dream to tie the idea of a business which encourages us all to get our hands dirty and build something ourselves with the ambition of progress within the LGBT+ community.

“Actively making progress is such a key part of this campaign, and we wanted audiences to start living this to some extent with the materials we created. The campaign can’t just be a nice idea. It must inspire real progress in both co-workers, and the wider world and interactivity is one of the ways we hoped this would be jump-started.”


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