Ikea eases the holiday stress in Rethink’s escapist seasonal spot

Tiffany’s ‘I Think We’re Alone Now’ anchors a new :60, which suggests taking a holiday from the holidays

Published On
Nov 14, 2023
A man standing alone on a balcony ringed with twinkle lights

Editor's Pick

If the Griswold family (and later, the Berzatto family) taught us anything, it’s that the holidays can be stressful. Ikea Canada leans into that theme in its 2023 holiday spot from Rethink, featuring people stealing moments away from the hustle and bustle—to the sounds of Tiffany’s “I Think We’re Alone Now.”

“We looked at the work out there, and the pressure it put on us all to live up to the expectations of the season needing to be a certain way,” Aaron Starkman, chief creative officer of Rethink, told Ad Age. “We thought it would be great to do a campaign that celebrated the wonderful part [of the holidays] but also acknowledged the part where we all need a break from it all at some point. It was also a natural place for Ikea to fit in—as Ikea provides the items you need to both throw the party, and escape from it.” 

Here’s the resulting :60, which rolls out this week. It was directed by Rachel Morrison.


The work definitely tries to find that balance between acknowledging the downside of the holiday craziness while still upholding what people love about the season. Several U.K. advertisers have also experimented with lightly anti-holiday messaging this year—likewise pointing to the stress of holiday prep. (The state of the world, where anxieties are high in general, may have something to do with this.)

The balance is handled well here, and it’s not always easy to pull off. This month’s M&S campaign in Britain, in particular, drew some scorching criticism for trampling on tradition at a time when people still cling to it, even if deep down they might like something different.

In the Ikea spot, the theme extends to the music. While lyrically apt, the Tiffany track is also notable for what it’s not—yet another piece of holiday music.

“We loved this song from the beginning as part of the idea but weren’t sure we could get it. And weren’t sure it would work once we got to the edit, so we kept our options open,” said Starkman. “But we loved the cheekiness of it. The playfulness of it allowed us to deliver the message about taking a break but also keep it fun. We purposely avoided holiday music. We wanted a fresh take on the holidays from brief to execution.” 

The featured products—the bathmat, bed and stool, all of which help out holiday escapees relax for a moment—feel a bit superfluous to the story here, but are fairly unobtrusive as far as it goes.

“The holidays are one of the busiest times of the year, and as much as we anticipate and treasure celebrating with family and friends, at some point, we all need a little break,” said Jonelle Ricketts, head of marketing at Ikea Canada. “This year’s holiday campaign is all about showing how Ikea can help create those spaces within any home that are perfect for taking a little breather from the mayhem of the holiday season.”

The campaign includes TV, cinema, OOH, digital and social and will run through Christmas Eve.


Nov 14, 2023
Client :
Ikea (Canada)
Client :
Agency :
Global Chief Creative Officer :
Aaron Starkman
Mike Dubrick
Group Creative Director :
Michelle Spivak
Partner Group Creative Director - Copywriter :
Robbie Percy
Partner Group Creative Director - Art Director :
Caroline Friesen
Copywriter :
Aman Soin
Copywriter :
Karine Doucet
Art Director :
Ashley Park
Chief Strategy Officer :
Sean McDonald
Strategy Director :
Jay Fleming
Strategist :
Jayne Stymiest
Group Account Director :
Kiara Wilson
Account Director :
Jia Cau
Account Director :
Catherine B. Mainville
Account Supervisor :
Erica Francis
Account Supervisor :
Melissa Luk
Account Supervisor :
Queenie See
Account Manager :
Sharlyn Barahona
Associate Director of Broadcast Production :
Nadya MacNeil
Senior Integrated Producer :
Agnes Gilchrist
Broadcast Producer :
Anita Abbasi
Broadcast Producer :
Chantal Wakil
Production Intern :
Vinnick Luedjeu
Production House :
Steam Films
Executive Producer :
Krista Marshall
Executive Producer :
Jill Brennan
Director :
Rachel Morrison
DP :
Bobby Shore
Line Producer :
Dolores Salken
Production Designer :
Jesson Moen
Stylist :
Donna Irvine
Transfer/Online Studio :
Alter Ego
Colorist :
Wade Odlum
VFX Artist :
Eric Perrella
Producer :
Andrew Tavares
Editorial House :
Editor :
Graham Chisholm
Assistant Editor :
Griffin Stobbs
Audio House :
Berkeley Music
Creative Director :
Jared Kuemper
Production House :
United Assembly Inc
Photographer :
Suech + Beck
Executive Producer :
Lindsey Rebeiro
Studio Manager :
Todd Bennett
Retoucher :
Kostas Loukopoulos
Studio Artist :
Stephanie Sherwood
Country Marketing Manager :
Jonelle Ricketts
Former Country Marketing Communications Manager :
Claudia Mayne
Country Marketing Communications Leader :
Jacqueline Wark
Country Marketing Communications Specialist :
Nadia Kassam
Marketing Performance Leader :
Marissa Fischer
Integrated Media Leader :
Vanessa Herz
Integrated Media Manager :
Kristin Newbigging
Loyalty Leader :
Musab Memon
Acting Manager Customer Engagement and Loyalty :
Michelle Oliveira
Interior Design Leader :
Lindsay Marsh
Media :
Loyalty & CRM :
Wunderman Thompson
Strategy Director :
McKenzie McCart
Account Director :
Maryam Asad
Account Supervisor :
Sanya Bharti

Need a credit fix? Contact the Creativity Editors

Project Type