Cats help IKEA increase brand appeal. For real.

In late 2010, IKEA launched their Happy Inside campaign to demonstrate how IKEA products Imagewere more than just cheap “stuff,” but could provide comfortable living spaces to make anyone feel happy inside their home. And in 2010, IKEA decided to put this campaign to the ultimate test, with cats.

IKEA released 100 cats in their Wembley, UK store to see where they would wind up and what furniture made them relaxed enough to curl up and go to sleep. In other words, where they would feel happiest inside.

The IKEA Cats of Wembley was turned into a commercial for TV and Youtube, and was the first public release for the Happy Inside campaign. The objective was to increase brand appeal before the launch of their 2011 catalogue. While flipping through the catalogue, which was also littered with cat imagery, it was hoped the campaign would probe audiences to think what kind of IKEA furniture would make them feel happy inside.


ikea webMother London, the advertisement agency responsible for the campaign, also launched a website, using footage from the ad, that let users guess which piece of furniture the cat would settle down on. If they guessed right they won it. This allowed audiences to think which furniture would cause the cats, and themselves, to be most comfortable in, while exploring IKEA’s furniture options.

Why cats? Well, house cats are comfort experts, nappers extraordinaire and, for many people, symbolize the comfort of home, so the real question is, why not cats?

And the campaign worked! According to Mother London, the campaign had a huge online following. Their Youtube video and website got over four million visitors.  IKEA’s brand tracking also showed that perceptions of the brand as “warm and human” increased, as did market shares. Cats FTW.


Watch the IKEA Cats of Wembley advertisement below:

Making of: