'Pretentious designer' stars in new Ikea drive

Karmarama has created a £5 million multimedia campaign for Ikea to reaffirm the brand's credentials as the home of affordable design.

The TV, outdoor and press ads launch the new endline "Elite designers against Ikea" to coincide with the introduction of an elite but pompous furniture designer, Van den Puup, who detests Ikea.

In the first execution, Van den Puup explains the journey of creation for his new £1,200 Monday Cabinet. We see his tortured genius toiling in a studio and relaxing by the pool of his luxury mansion with his pampered pooch and personal assistant.

But he explodes with anger when he realises Ikea is producing the same cabinet for just £29.

In another ad, the designer almost crashes his car when he sees a billboard advertising his £30,000 bedroom at a considerably reduced price.

The executions will run as 40- and ten-second spots, breaking on Monday.

Karmarama's joint creative director Naresh Ramchandani said: "We wanted to create a character who was pretentious, precious and uncreative as Ikea is down-to-earth and creative.

"We have modelled Van den Puup on some advertising people that we have worked with in the past."

The ads were written and art directed by Dave Buonaguidi and Ramchandani in collaboration with Michael Robert and Kim Boisen at Robert/Boisen & Like-Minded in Copenhagen. They were directed by Graham Linehan through Sneezing Tree.

Media planning and buying for the campaign was handled by MediaCom. The TV ads will run on terrestrial and key digital stations for an initial burst of eight weeks.

The press work will run on London Underground escalator panels, in national press weekend supplements and in local newspaper titles.

A four-page spoof editorial "At home with Van den Puup" will appear in the next issue of OK!

Additionally, national six- and 48-sheet posters will be located in close proximity to Ikea stores with 48-sheet cross-track sites also scheduled to appear on the London Underground.

Ikea's head of external communications, Frances Evans, said: "The idea of creating an opposite universe where the Elite Designers reflect the antithesis of Ikea's values presents us with a unique and compelling means to refresh the brand and continue to build on Ikea's distinct, irreverent status in the home furnishings marketplace."