The 95-second film, which launches today on YouTube, shows a well to do family sitting down for dinner. But before they can tuck in, an artist is rushed in to hastily compose an enormous painting of the feast, which is then carted around town for everybody else to give their thumbs up (or down to).
The text "It’s a meal. Not a competition." then appears on screen, after which the action relocates to the present day and it becomes clear that in this absurd historical scene we are actually seeing ourselves, through a glass, darkly.
The film, created by Stockholm agency Acne, was inspired by the findings of Ikea's third annual "Life at home" report, which surveyed 12,000 people in 12 major cities across the world about their home lives.
The study found that large proportions of people were anxious about the discrepancy between their expectations of how their home lives should be, and the reality. For example, 42% said they lacked the time to cook everyday, despite agreeing they should try to eat together with their family or friends.
Meanwhile 60% said they used social media to explore food ideas – but the tendency to aim for perfect presentation could sometimes "set impossible standards and make us feel inadequate", said Ikea.
Although respondents felt most at ease when their kitchens are clean and tidy, 39% said their messy homes annoyed them weekly.
The study took place in Berlin, London, Moscow, Mumbai, New York, Paris, Shanghai, Stockholm, Sydney, Toronto, Zürich and Madrid. The copywriter on the campaign was Markus Bjurman and the art director Cecilia Dufils, while it was directed by Tompa & Rondo for Acne.