Singapore-made Ikea video spoofing Apple goes viral

Advertisement for Ikea furniture catalogue, presented like the tech giant's glitzy commercials, gets more than 6 million views on YouTube

The campaign's concept was hatched by two creative directors of BBH, Singapore - Mr Maurice Wee (above) and Mr Tinus Strydom (top).
The campaign's concept was hatched by two creative directors of BBH, Singapore - Mr Maurice Wee (above) and Mr Tinus Strydom (top).
The campaign's concept was hatched by two creative directors of BBH, Singapore - Mr Maurice Wee (above) and Mr Tinus Strydom (top).

SINGAPORE - A made-in-Singapore video advertisement about an Ikea furniture catalogue which spoofs tech-giant Apple has become a YouTube hit, surpassing six million views on YouTube since its launch last Wednesday.

The video showcases the Swedish home furnishing company's 2015 product catalogue, but bears an uncanny resemblance to the glitzy commercials by Apple, which is about to launch its iPhone 6 on Tuesday.

In the video, the catalogue rotates suspended against a white backdrop while a fictional character, "chief design guru" Jorgen Eghammer, plays up the beauty of its features.

There is no need for cables and it comes fully charged with "eternal" battery life, he says in the video. "Introducing the 2015 Ikea catalogue," he adds. "It's not a digital book or an e-book. It's a bookbook."

The concept for the campaign was hatched by two creative directors of advertising agency Bartle Bogle Hegarty (BBH) Singapore.

Mr Tinus Strydom, 36, and Mr Maurice Wee, 40, had received a brief from their client to make their customers in Malaysia and Singapore excited about the printed catalogue in a world where electronic devices have largely replaced books.

The two creative directors had returned to work one Saturday in April to brainstorm ideas in the BBH office in Clarke Quay - where, like many other creative agency offices, a lot of devices tend to be Apple products, said Mr Strydom, who is from South Africa but moved here in 2000.

When asked if the campaign was meant to spoof Apple, Mr Strydom declined to comment, but said that they took reference from common ways in which the tech industry launches products, in general.

He added: "I cannot pinpoint what exactly triggered the idea. It came out of ether - the source of everything."

Said Mr Wee, who is a Singaporean: "We live in gadget-crazy times. I once saw my kid trying to drag a cursor arrow across my desktop screen like a tablet.

"There is much social commentary on the loss of touch with the everyday. Digital innovations are great but the way technology is sometimes more overblown than how good it really is - it is comedic. We were simply holding up a mirror."

The online clip is just one part of the campaign which also encompasses newspaper, radio, cinema and outdoor advertisements here. A team of more than 15 people were involved.

The video was shot here and features the metal letterboxes in the void deck of a Housing Board flat in the west and a landed property in Upper Bukit Timah.

International media such as British newspaper The Telegraph and American news magazine Time have praised the video.

Netizens on the American social media platform Reddit have been puzzling over the bunch of rambutans found in the top left corner of some scenes in the video, calling them "fuzzy strawberries".

Marketing and branding experts here were also impressed.

Dr Prem Shamdasani, associate professor of marketing from the National University of Singapore's Business School, observed that the video is a good example of communicating a bricks-and-mortar product to a technologically savvy generation "in a language that resonates".

Added Ms Sharon Ng, an associate professor from Nanyang Business School's division of marketing: "It is brilliant and clever. It mocks modern technology. When people look at it, they will have this knowing smile - it speaks to our inner understanding of technology."

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