Ikea reviews $35 million account

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After more than a decade with the same agency, Swedish furniture retailer Ikea, Plymouth Meeting, Pa., has put its $30 million to $35 million account up for grabs. Deutsch, New York, the incumbent, won't make a pitch for the business. Boston-based consultant Pile & Co. will handle the review, which Ikea hopes to complete by mid-December. An Ikea representative said the decision was mainly precipitated by the company's plans to significantly grow its retail presence in North America. "We are really going into an expansion phase, and after 10 years, you have to do a thorough review of your external partners," said Ikea External Communications Manager Joakim Gip. "We probably should have done it five years ago." Another, although less significant, factor was that there had been some employee turnover at Deutsch, Mr. Gip said, though he added that the agency "did a very good job of being consistent." Ikea, which has 22 retail stores in North America, plans to open at least four to five new stores a year for the next several years, Mr. Gip said. Since 1998, the home furnishings company has opened stores in Chicago, San Francisco and San Diego.In the time that Deutsch had the account, there were several spots that drew a great deal of media attention, including one ad that showcased a gay couple shopping for furniture and another that featured an interracial couple. More recently, a spot showed workers using Ikea furniture to transform a subway car into a living room. "We look back on our time with them fondly and wish them well," agency Chairman-CEO Donny Deutsch said in a release.

Copyright October 2000, Crain Communications Inc.

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