When you compare Stylewar, aka Oskar Holmedal and Martin Sjostrom, with Traktor, however, they react modestly. "It's a real compliment to be compared with them," Holmedal says. "We're big fans and I really don't think we come close to them."
Holmedal and Sjostrom went to the same design school and launched Stylewar in 1998, producing music videos and title sequences for Swedish TV shows. A few months ago, they decided to do more commercials, never dreaming that they would make such a big impact so quickly.
"We were looking for a production company in the US and we signed a contract with Smuggler last summer," Holmedal explains. The ink was just about dry when Smuggler appointed the collective to direct six spots for Ikea, with the first one airing in September in the US and Canada.
Stylewar worked in Stockholm with a 17-strong delegation from Crispin Porter & Bogusky to assist in filming the Ikea ads. All six spots, with names such as "family room", "Russian doll" or "pony", show rooms that evolve at a fast pace while their inhabitants watch TV or prepare dinner. "There are many things happening at the same time," Holmedal explains. "It's a big mix, as there are some computer-generated bits, while other parts were shot separately. We used fishing lines and anything that came to hand to make it work."
Sjostrom adds: "The main reason the Ikea work was such a success is that we got along with the people from the agency and Swiss, the post-production company."
The collective has also shot ads for Alkoholprofilen, a website where people can assess their alcohol consumption.
Despite their overnight success, they remain remarkably unassuming and typically Swedish. "The only difference now is that we're being sent more scripts than before," they say.