Pick of the Week: An early night (on an Ikea mattress) wins the race

Ikea's prequel to Aesop's fable The Tortoise and the Hare highlights the importance of quality sleep

Ikea and Mother’s prequel to the story of The Tortoise and the Hare is a fable to strike fear into the hearts of runners. As marathoners everywhere will attest, there’s a ritual satisfaction to it: laying out all the kit, pinning on the race number, lacing the time chip safely onto one trainer the night before a race. So, the Ikea hare’s complete disregard for race preparation is compellingly nerve-inducing viewing.

When I watch the furry-tailed, hoodie-wearing hare check his watch and join his mates for a drink that turns into several, the jitters begin. Alcohol? On a pre-race night?

When he stops off at Aesop’s Kebab (nice touch) for a nibble on some lettuce, the cold sweat breaks out. Where’s his pasta dinner?

And as he misses the bus, stepping over a newspaper headline declaring "The race is on" before walking all the way home, where he spends hours taking selfies, watching boxing hares on his laptop and playing guitar, I am incredulous, silently screaming at him to go to bed. Oh, Mr Hare, surely you needed an early night?

But relief washes over as morning arrives and the ad cuts to the far calmer and more sensible tortoise, who has, of course, opted for a night of restorative sleep on an Ikea mattress. The tortoise wakes up completely refreshed, before leaving its flat wearing its race number, joining other well-prepared runners on their way to the big race.

And the pay-off is what makes this ad work so well. When Mr Hare jerks awake, still on his sofa, he allows runners everywhere to feel comfortably smug about their race-prep routines, including the early night, because as the Ikea voiceover tells us: “Tomorrow starts tonight.”

Directed by Sam Pilling through Pulse, with British hip-hop classic Witness (1 Hope) by Roots Manuva as the soundtrack, the ad highlights the importance of a good night’s sleep, and not just for runners.

Creative agency Mother
Production company Pulse Films
Director Sam Pilling

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