Surekha Ragavan
Sep 4, 2019

TBWA Singapore replaces BBH as Ikea SEA's creative agency

We take a look back at some of BBH's work for the brand.

TBWA Singapore replaces BBH as Ikea SEA's creative agency

After a four month closed-door pitch, Ikea has appointed TBWA Singapore as its new lead creative agency. The account has been handled by BBH since 2013, and the agency defended its creative mandate in this pitch.

In May, Nigel Richardson, head of marketing for Ikea Southeast Asia, noted in a release that the brand had an "excellent working relationship" with BBH, but the review was a part of a regular internal process. 

TBWA Singapore will be responsible for three years of creative work for Ikea including integrated campaigns, store opening campaigns, digital and social communications across Singapore, Malaysia and Thailand.

“We are excited with our new partnership with TBWA,” said Richardson. “Holding a review of agencies is part of our normal IKEA process and we are constantly looking for fresh ideas and creative point of views that deliver inspiration through an integrated communications approach. TBWA delivered just that in their proposal and stood out with a refreshing angle to deliver our brand promise across to customers.”

Ara Hampartsoumian, CEO of TBWA Group Singapore, said in a release: “Ikea Southeast Asia has set the bar high and we share the same vision: to deliver vibrant and creative work that connects with culture and captivates audiences."

A look back at BBH's work for Ikea

In its time that it managed the Ikea account, BBH Singapore often delivered exciting, surprising work that dreew attention well beyond APAC. For example, for the 'Human catalogue' campaign, the brand challenged world memory champion Yanjaa Wintersoul to memorise its 2018 Ikea catalogue in a week. Spoiler: She did.

In 2014, the agency helped Ikea spoof Apple’s packaging and advertising in the launch campaign for its 2015 catalogue. The 'Bookbook' ad attempted to promote the catalog in the same way Apple would tout a high-tech device, complete with an Apple-inspired box, a quick-start guide, and lots of references to things like ‘eternal’ battery life and pages that load at literally the speed of light. 

Rewinding even further, back to 2013, BBH helped Ikea tap into the issue of limited space in Singapore and Malaysia with an ad that was meant to capture how it feels for multigenerational families living on top of each other—and the relief that can come with better and smarter use of space.

In 2015, the agency produced an ad to commemorate the opening of Ikea's new outlet in Cheras, Kuala Lumpur. A catchy jingle was born, featuring the word 'Cheras' and the brand's exotic product names such as 'Tisdag' and 'Hemnes'. 

Meanwhile, to launch its store in Penang this year, BBH incorporated Hokkien-Swedish wordplay as a localised entry into a city where Hokkien is commonly used.

"We’d like to thank BBH for all the hard work and support across the years. BBH led some of the most memorable campaigns for IKEA Southeast Asia, including 'IKEA Bookbook' and the 'IKEA Human Catalogue'," said Richardson.

BBH did one last piece of Ikea-related work on Facebook:

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