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Ikea - Shh won't wake the baby

Where it began

IKEA uses their expertise in design to create solutions that help people fall asleep and stay asleep (without breaking the bank) through a wide range of mattresses, blackout curtains, and temperature-controlling linens. However, the sleep category has become crowded with new, direct-to-consumer mattress-in-a-box brands popping up everywhere and gaining popularity. We needed to position IKEA as a true ‘sleep expert’ - reminding people of their expertise and wide range of sleep products.  


The question was, which people are most deprived of their sleep? How can IKEA as a brand empathise with them and be a part of the solution purely using media placements in a highly receptive environment? 

Understanding and empathising with the audience

We uncovered a particular audience notoriously known for their erratic sleeping patterns and poor quality of sleep: new-born babies, and hence their exhausted parents.  


In a collaborative research with Spotify, we discovered that many new parents use white noise and other ambient sounds to help keep their babies to sleep, and many turn to Spotify playlists to find the right sounds. A search on Spotify will yield hundreds of playlists for babies including white noise, lullabies, waves, sounds of the forest, and soothing flute melodies. 


Not when you are a non-premium member! 


More than 70% of all Spotify users have the free version, and their peaceful playlists are interrupted by ads, and with many new parents not being able to afford luxuries like paid subscriptions, they took to Twitter to air their frustrations about the interruption of their baby’s precious sleep. 


This got us thinking, what if we could help parents prevent their babies from waking up to show that IKEA really understands how important sleep is? We’re the sleep experts after all. 

What we did

Use of Spotify’s advertising and targeting capabilities to drive this campaign was crucial - the very insight relied on the user experience and Spotify’s unique capabilities. Placements were bought within popular sleep playlists for babies and a series of ads were created that matched the tone of the tracks in the playlist. This involved creation of 11 versions of ads, each with unique SFX like white noise, raindrops, and ocean waves, and a soothing whispered VO from IKEA’s longtime Swedish spokesperson, Jonas, delivering our sleep message.  


Since babies sleep at all times of the day, our goal was to not wake the baby, while positioning IKEA as a sleep expert to thankful parents who were listening nearby. We even gave parents the option to tap on a companion banner and shop IKEA’s bedroom solutions during their rare moment of peace.  

The value exchange

While ads usually diminish the user experience, the campaign enhanced it by helping babies stay asleep by blocking out loud ads with our soft, quiet, shushy ones. This always-on tactic allowed us to build equity and top of mind awareness.


We achieved a large increase in sales revenue for Beds & Mattresses during the campaign, despite an overall category decline in Canada.  


Most importantly, we didn’t wake any babies.