St Luke’s is courting controversy in its first television ad for
Ikea office furniture, by suggesting that managers can pay for revamping
their offices by firing a junior member of staff.
Called ’downsizer’, the 40-second commercial pokes fun at business
consultants who perpetuate the kind of short-term thinking portrayed in
It opens on an unhinged Swedish presenter, who reveals that the dreary
office behind her can be transformed into a ’warm, inspiring’ space
using only pounds 8,027.67 worth of equipment from Ikea.
’And where do you find the money?’ she enquires with an arch look.
’Easy, you let someone go. And it doesn’t even have to be anyone
senior.’ The presenter then sidles over to a young man who is doing the
photocopying in the corner, and asks him how much he earns. When he
finally admits that it’s ’ten and a half’, she gives a meaning-ful look
at the camera.
St Luke’s denied that the spot was insensitive given that the agency was
recently appointed to handle advertising for the Government’s Welfare to
Work programme. This is a scheme under which industry is being
encouraged to find work for Britain’s jobless youth.
’It’s not exhorting employers to fire people,’ a spokes-woman
’It’s funny and it’s quite clearly taking the mickey. It’s about mocking
politically incorrect behaviour.’
Breaking on Sunday, the campaign is aimed at small business owners, and
will be supported by a national radio campaign, which will spread the
news that Ikea’s office range is now available in all of its eight
The TV commercial, which was written by Alan Young and art directed by
Julian Vizard, will only appear on Sundays and Mondays to try to catch
consumers when they are in a ’back to work’ frame of mind.
’Downsizer’ was directed by Chris Dada at the Direc-tory, while media
for the campaign is handled by the Media Business.