Ikea Picks Anomaly Amsterdam For Global Sustainability Work

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"Come Home to Play" from Ikea UK Credit: Ikea UK/YouTube

Ikea is hiring Anomaly Amsterdam after a pitch to lead a global advertising push, thought to be the first in the Swedish retailer's history.

Anomaly has a three-year contract to work closely with global and regional Ikea marketers – and potentially with some local agencies – in a bid to drive a new sustainability agenda for the brand.

Ikea began talking to agencies in February as it searched for a partner to develop a global positioning campaign for both corporate and consumer communications. Local agency relationships will remain unaffected.

Claudia Willvonseder, Ikea Group's global marketing and communication manager, says in a statement, "In Anomaly, we have found a creative partner that brings an integrated approach to our global and local communications work."

Anomaly's brief – sustainability – has become a core value for Ikea, which now owns more wind turbines than stores, and is moving towards 100 percent renewable energy. In 2016, Ikea sent zero waste to landfills in the U.K., where it even makes a small profit on recycling its waste.

"To get to work with the company that founded the idea of democratic design is not just a great opportunity for Anomaly, but for me – as a Swede – it's a dream come true," says Fabian Berglund, executive creative director at Anomaly Amsterdam, in the statement.

The Swedish retailer traditionally uses a decentralized model for all its advertising communications, working with creative shops country-by-country including Mother London in the U.K., 72andSunny in the Netherlands, Akestam Holst in Sweden, CP&B in the U.S., The Monkeys in Australia and Bartle Bogle Hegarty in Singapore.

Last year, Ikea moved to a more centralized media operation, consolidating its $444 million global account with two holding companies, WPP and Dentsu Aegis Group. Previously Ikea had spread its media business across five holding companies.

In another bid to update its operations, the company has made significant moves to adapt its business model to respond to online competition and to embrace the gig economy.

Ikea recently committed to selling its flat-pack furniture through third party e-commerce websites, which could include Amazon and Alibaba, in response to a fall in visitors to its out-of-town stores. It also plans to experiment with new formats, including city-center showrooms as well as smaller outlets.

In addition, Ikea recently announced a deal to buy TaskRabbit, which links consumers with tradespeople who can help with home delivery and furniture assembly, which many customers struggle with. The retailer also recently launched an augmented reality app that allows customers to virtually "place" Ikea products into their homes.

Ikea saw a 4 percent rise in sales to more than $40 billion in the year through August 2017, including a 28 percent jump in online sales, which now account for about 5 percent of the total.

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