Yanjaa Wintersoul, a 23-year-old with cheerful purple hair, is a memory champion. That's an actual thing, with contests where people have to memorize as many digits, decks of cards, historic dates and random lists of words as they can in a short period of time. Ikea, the Swedish home furnishings retailer, gave Wintersoul a quirky challenge to help unveil its 2018 catalog: memorizing all the obscure details in the book's 328 pages.
How good is Wintersoul? Watch her above. Ask her what's stuck to the fridge in the background of the homey scene on page 21, and she remembers the details Ikea put there to lend authenticity to its furniture stagings (a baby sonogram, a child's drawing of an animal). Or ask her something even weirder, like whether anybody in the catalog needs to visit the eye doctor, and she remembers two scenes: a woman with her eyeglasses tucked into the pocket of a recliner (page 176) and a wall where a small doctor's eye chart is displayed along with other art (page 33).
Wintersoul is also brand-savvy, name-checking products like the Hemnes bookcase and the Muren recliner. And while she's the official face of the 2018 Ikea catalog launch for the Singapore, Malaysia and Thailand markets, it's safe to say this campaign will get traction beyond that.
Skeptical? Ikea and the agency behind the campaign, BBH Singapore, are organizing a Facebook Live event with Wintersoul on Sept. 6. Later this year, she's competing in the World Memory Championships in Indonesia. You can also check out her performance memorizing emojis on "Sweden's Got Talent." Wintersoul is Mongolian-born but grew up partly in Sweden, as well as Mongolia, Kenya and Japan.
The Swedish retailer often has a lot of fun with marketing the release of its 66-year-old print catalog. Three years ago, Ikea and BBH Singapore did a hilarious spoof of Apple marketing by pitching its low-tech print product in the manner of a digital device ("pages load instantly, with zero lag").