Ikea Taps McCann New York to Reinvent Catalog

Retailer Goes Outside Roster, Hires Fellow Swede Creative Chief Karlsson

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Swedish retailer Ikea today said it has turned to McCann, New York -- and its Swedish chief creative officer Linus Karlsson -- to help redo its 200-million-circulation catalog.

Until now, the catalog's design and marketing has been handled by ICOM, Ikea's in-house team at its headquarters in Almhult, Sweden. Interpublic Group of Cos.-owned McCann's new global assignment doesn't affect the role of WPP's Ogilvy & Mather as Ikea's U.S. creative agency of record, or other assignments in regional markets. Those include Forsman & Bodenfors' work out of Sweden or Mother 's work out of London.

"By bringing technology to the paper catalog, we will be able to tell the Ikea story in new ways whilst driving a more seamless connection to purchase," Mark Fallows, exec VP-creative technology at McCann, told Ad Age in an email. "Our re-architecture of the catalog will deliver an improved user experience and maintain its relevance throughout the year." McCann picked up the assignment in part due to the marketer being familiar with Mr. Karlsson's career, which began in Sweden.* The agency last November hired him away from Mother in New York.

Overall, Ikea spends an estimated $300 million worldwide a year. At the Cannes International Festival of Creativity in June, Ikea was named Advertiser of the Year.

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Editor's Note: This story was amended after publication to reflect a clarification on behalf of McCann executives, who stated that while Ikea was familiar with Mr. Karlsson's work, the company hadn't worked directly with him in the past.

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