Ikea calls out the phrase 'Can I help?' to highlight the chore gap between men and women

Campaign from We Are Social Milan wrote an open letter to Italian dictionary Trecanni

Published On
Mar 09, 2021

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Ikea is the latest advertiser to turn its attention to the chore gap between men and women, something it's doing in several markets to mark International Women's Day this year.

The brand has already focused on the issue in an Instagram "card game" campaign, Fifty Fifty, running in several markets, and now it's turning its attention in Italy to the seemingly innocent phrase "can I help?" 


In a campaign by We Are Social's Milan office, it posted an open letter on social media to the Italian dictionary, Trecanni, asking them for a linguistic point of view on the phrase. 

"When it comes to household chores, we have noticed that one of the most frequently used phrases is: "Can I help?".  In most cases, it is women who hear this phrase, not men," the letter points out. "It's an expression that seems harmless and kind. But, in reality, it subversively conveys a deeply misguided cultural norm, implying that housework is the sole responsibility of women."

The brand also posted some provocative captions on social media, for example "Don't help her with the ironing," explaining below that when you're saying that, you're saying that it's a woman's duty. 



Mar 09, 2021
Client :
Ikea (Italy)
Agency :
We Are Social-Milan
Executive Creative Director :
Alessandro Sciarpelletti
Executive Creative Director of Production :
Daniele Piazza
Associate Creative Director :
Paulo Gonzalez
Associate Creative Director :
Mattia Lacchini
Creative :
Lorenzo Canazza
Art Director :
Giulia De Chirico
Editor :
Sergio Giussani
Head of Client Services :
Francesca Feller
Senior Account Director :
Mirco Bertola
Senior Account Manager :
Diego Vallieri
Senior Account Executive :
Alessia Bloise
Account Executive :
Giuliano Franco
Writer :
Francesco Pierucci
Head of Strategy :
Bruno Tecci
Strategy Supervisor :
Marta Prosperi

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