Chris Reed
Mar 11, 2013

Singapore IKEA’s sense of humour marks them out as a thoroughbred

IKEA Singapore have taken the horse meat scare seriously but they have done it in a very funny way and turned it into a sales opportunity as well as a record breaking social engagement one.

Singapore IKEA’s sense of humour marks them out as a thoroughbred

I came across the enclosed advert in Singapore’s Today newspaper and couldn’t stop laughing!

The IKEA meatballs are famous. I love them! In the UK/Europe they have stopped selling them due to the ever growing horsemeat scandal.

I love the irony of the fact that horsemeat sales in France have actually risen since the scandal in the UK/other countries as they consider it a delicacy! Although I don’t think that they are buying horse burgers, unintentional ones or otherwise!

As a global brand IKEA Singapore had to react to the scandal thousands of miles away and also have their own meatballs checked out for possible meat contamination.

During this time they too had to remove them from sale in Singapore.  Unlike their cousins in the West though IKEA here found no horsemeat contamination.

How then were they to introduce them back on the menu and regain the public’s trust? The magic formula in Singapore – the price promotion and social engagement.

Using the hashtag #meatballmoment and the power of Singapore’s Facebook, Twitter and Instagram along with the aforementioned traditional advertising IKEA engaged with Singaporeans in all ways possible.

The desire for a 10c per meatball deal coupled with the encouragement to take photos of food (a national pastime anyway that needs no encouragement!) meant that IKEA were inundated with people queuing up outside the store for the special deal! The chance to say they were there and share the photo of them enjoying themselves with followers on Twitter and Instagram particularly fed into the Singaporean’s love of food photography and deals! Some even added their own witty headings such as "neigh-ver say neigh-ver"!

Should the new creative have ben serious and factual or what they went with, very witty? To me the funny angle fits with the IKEA brand but I’m not sure I would have associated the  Swedish brand with this kind of humour for such a serious subject (well serious if you’re British and screamish anyway), and not in Singapore. But it works. It’s hilarious!

The full page adverts/digital creative and message of seriousness that IKEA took the meatballs off the menu to examine them and now that they were fine are putting them back on is combined with the 10cent per meatball promotion. The copy reads “it’s a deal that you just can’t say “neigh” to” which is a masterstroke of humour and compelling price offer combined!

The IKEA Facebook site then encouraged the photo sharing and news of the deal spread to such an extent that IKEA sold 250,000 meatballs in one day, a world record apparently!

I actually love Paddy Power’s free horse burger stunt but that is very keeping with the brand. IKEA Singapore are not known for their sense of humour but used it fantastically in this context. Off for a gallup they go!


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