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IKEA 360 Kitchen viewer

24 September 2005 at 5:12 pm

This new IKEA minisite takes an “old” idea from the Matrix movies and implements it in a beautiful way. It is in fact so beautiful that you instantly start exploring and playing with it. Brilliant use of Flash Video! It’s very seldom I see something genuinely new like this in the field of advertising.

When I saw this ad I thought “Darn! I could have come up with such an idea if given the chance”. Online advertising is in many ways the stepchild of the business. The success of an online campaign is much easier measured than other media and the media has a solid future ahead. I just read that a video on CNN is seen by about 150.000, but more than 3 million will see the same video on their website (via JD). If the shift in viewership is that dramatic, why doesen’t the advertising business go after this crowd?

The primary reason for this is often the way agencies are organized (at least here in Norway). Conservative and dull banner ads are created by the thousands and nobody ever cares to listen to their developers or technologists to understand what the web can offer as a medium. I can almost hear them saying “Bringing one of the nerds to a client meeeting? No thanks! God know what they could suggest? Maybe they’d suggest something we cannot take the credit for…”

At my company we don’t try to win prizes or contests in the advertising business. We work for several agencies and have actually won several prizes without ever trying. We really could not care less, but in advertising this is seen as an important confimation to the so called “creatives”. I’ve worked for agencies where they have over-paid, pretentious bullies as ADs. The higher the self-esteem - the lower the skills and opposition to others ideas is the rule for these people. They are so used to having the “winning idea” that if you suggest otherwise, they’ll just run you over.

Some months ago I worked on a campaign for a big telco. The AD had a basic idea and I was the who would execute it - Flashwise. I was only invited to the third or fourth client meeting since that was when they needed to solve “the technical problems” (the AD had already solved the creative issues). Anyway: in the meeting we discussed back and forth the ideas pitched and I came up with an idea that the client, the project manager and the Copywriter loved! The AD however couldn’t stand not “winning” so despite everyone else being for my suggestion, she started to work against it. It was a really weird situation sitting there listening to someone defending a clearly poorer idea, just because it was hers.

The web will dominate our lives more and more. I seldom watch TV anymore and I primarily read my news on my phone while sitting on the train. I even view newscasts on the phone. The advertising business will need to understand how new technology change our habits and what one can do. One example: with the new On2 video technology in Flash 8, you’ll soon see HDTV quality streaming services available. This will be available before the European Broadcasting Union is able to implement the HDTV format here in Europe. The web just moves so much faster than other mediums and the advertising business is not paying attention. Luckily there are exceptions to this rule producing groundbreaking stuff such as this IKEA microsite.