November 11, 2012
The New York Times
By Stuart Elliott
It is unlikely that Ikea could alert shoppers to its increasing digital presence by changing its name to IKEA, trademark laws being what they are. Perhaps the next best thing is what the IKEA United States division plans to announce on Monday: an initiative centered on what executives call their first interactive seasonal catalog.
The 31-page catalog, known as Celebrate Brilliantly, is being introduced in time for Thanksgiving and the Christmas shopping season. It can be read and watched on a section of the IKEA U.S. Web site, http://ikea-usa.com/celebrate.
Why “watched” in addition to “read”? The contents include video clips as well as integrations with IKEA’s presence in social media like Facebook and Pinterest. Other interactive elements include a feature to change the furniture and accessories in a photograph by using a mouse to “pull down” a virtual window shade.
“Over the last several years, we’ve continued to try to see which space our consumers are in,” said Christine Whitehawk, communications manager at IKEA U.S. in Conshohocken, Pa. “Like other retailers, other advertisers, we’re realizing they’re more and more involved with digital.”
IKEA U.S. has had “an online version of our print catalog for several years, but it’s basically a PDF version,” she added, so having the interactive catalog adds the benefits of being “able to monitor how people respond, the areas where they don’t respond, and look at how they’re using it, how many are using it and how it gets shared.”
The catalog is being produced by the Brownstein Group in Philadelphia, an agency that has worked with IKEA U.S. since 2006 on retail-oriented advertising assignments that run in traditional as well as digital media. Plans call for three additional seasonal catalogs next year, Ms. Whitehawk said.
The catalog will be promoted through methods that include e-mails to customers in the IKEA U.S. database and an online banner ad campaign, she added.
About 11 percent of the IKEA U.S. annual advertising budget is being spent on the initiative, Ms. Whitehawk said. According to Kantar Media, a unit of WPP, IKEA U.S. spent $101 million to advertise in major media last year.
A version of this article appeared in print on 11/12/2012, on page B6 of the NewYork edition with the headline: IKEA to Unveil Catalog with Interactive Features.