Ikea embraces play and children’s wellbeing in artful film voiced by Janelle Monáe

The two-minute spot is accompanied by an extensive ‘Play Report’ based on Ikea’s research into kids

Published On
Jun 12, 2024

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On Tuesday, to mark the first-ever International Day of Play designated by the United Nations, Ikea launched a new global campaign focused on the the wellbeing of children—and the critical role of play in their development and happiness.

The two-second spot above was written and directed by Linus Karlsson, Ikea’s chief creative officer for marketing and product, and voiced by Janelle Monáe. (Karlsson collaborated with production company PJADAD; no agency was involved.) From its opening frames, it questions a future centered on technology—and instead argues that the natural playfulness and curiosity of children are all the future we need.

“There is definitely a friendly nudge toward the Elons, the Googles and Apples of the world in the opening scene about staring into space, and the belief that tech defines our common future. It doesn’t,” Karlsson told Ad Age. “What’s crawling on the floor right in front us does. And that’s why children are the most important people in the world.”

Also read: Ikea’s ‘Proudly Second Best’ named Campaign of the Year at Ad Age’s Creativity Awards

The accompanying Ikea Play Report 2024 is based on findings from an international research study on play and playfulness at home, carried out by the consultancy Future Minds. The study included a survey conducted with 7,000 children and parents in seven countries (the U.S., Germany, France, Canada, Japan, Poland and India), 36 home visits in the U.S., China and Germany, the contribution of eight global expert on play.

The report explores topics including the human priorities connected to play, equity issues around it, and the home as the center of the play revolution. The study doesn’t explicitly push Ikea products, but it does include product shots in its ambient photos and positions Ikea as a provider of more playful living spaces.

“At Ikea, we strive to be the destination for a more playful home,” said Emma Dafnäs, range strategy and identify manager at Ikea. “The home is where everything happens, which means it must be able to accommodate the needs of all its members. ... Being playful is at the core of what Ikea stands for, and we are committed to developing even more products and solutions for more playful homes.”

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