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(July 18, 2001) SINGAPORE -- Swedish furniture giant IKEA has awarded its $1.6 million account to Interpublic Group of Cos.' Lowe Lintas & Partners Worldwide and media buying and planning to sibling Initiative Media.

The appointment followed a four-way pitch including Bcom# Group-owned Bartle Bogle Hegarty, Havas Advertising's Euro RSCG Worldwide and WPP Group's J. Walter Thompson Co. The incumbent was Dentsu, Young & Rubicam, which resigned the account in March.

IKEA Marketing Communications Manager Angeline Tan said of the assignment: "The agency showed a passion and commitment for the brand, and solid strategic thinking. We can expect a change of direction and to completely refresh our marketing in the coming months."

A campaign is expected to break in September for a pre-Christmas push. Print will be the main medium.

IKEA has 13 stores in the Asia/Pacific region located in Singapore, Malaysia, Hong Kong, Taiwan, China and Australia. Although brand positioning is directed from IKEA's headquarters in Sweden, Ms. Tan said each market has complete autonomy when it comes to appointment of agency, local strategy and allocation of marketing budget. -- Magz Osborne

Copyright July 2001, Crain Communications Inc.

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