Ikea ad makes joke out of downsizing

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.

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

the commercial.



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

explained.



’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

stores.



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.