Ikea and the Most Helpful Catalog in the World

Ikea has always been known for its unique take on catalogs. The 2014 US catalog made waves by integrating smartphones into the experience through augmented reality, while the 2015 book went decidedly non-tech, saying it’s a “not an e-book; it’s a book book!”

If you live in the U.S., however, you may have missed their “most helpful book in the world” Canadian campaign that launched in November 2014.

“The campaign big idea was to position the catalogue as ‘The Most helpful Book In The World’. Outdoor and digital set out to create awareness of and interest in the drop of the catalogue,” notes this post in PrintPower.  “But what else could encourage people to do more than flip through the book and actually use it as a manual?”

The answer? Send the catalog out with a bonus: the most helpful measuring tape in the world. What a great way to get some immediate hands-on engagement, as readers had the tools literally in their hands to start measuring for new furniture.

The campaign was created by Leo Burnett Toronto, and won accolades and awards for the agency and the brand. But what did it return in ROI?

According to Print Power, the impact was measurable and significant:

  • The campaign drove store sales to increase by a whopping 13.5% compared to the previous year (almost 11% higher than the planned sales goal).
  • On social media, within one day, the measuring tape post had a reach of 41,000 retweets and over 265,000 impressions on Facebook.

For brands, it’s clear that catalogs are still a powerful medium. And it’s also clear that they need to be more than doorstops or product listings. The best catalogs – and we’ve seen some great ones lately – inspire a lifestyle aesthetic that resonates with the brand’s target audience.

This is how you do catalogs in the digital age.