Igniting a spark of magic this Christmas

posted on 5th Dec 2018 by Kerry

Sustainability is the big word around town. It’s a broad term, one that can’t quite be pinned down by a single definition. The beauty of this is that it means everyone can integrate principles of sustainability into their everyday lives – however big or small. In a nutshell, sustainability is doing more with less. As statistics about the state of the planet grow more and more harrowing, plenty of big brands have risen to the call of action.  

IKEA has been spearheading the War on Waste for quite some time now. They’ve pledged to remove all single-use plastics from shops and restaurants and have committed to being a fully circular business by 2030. The retailer’s founder, Ingvar Kamprad, wrote a memo in 1973 where he condemned the wasting of resources as a ‘mortal sin,’ dubbing it ‘one of the greatest diseases of mankind.’ Although an argument can be made for gentler word choice, I still have to admire his prescience on the issue. Kamprad spent decades modelling the company with his own personal values at its core. Once the 8th richest person in world, he’d regularly fly economy and shop at flea markets. The late Mr. Kamprad and myself seem to have had a lot in common. Well, two out of three ain’t bad…

In September IKEA Canada launched year 2 of its Beautiful Possibilities campaign. The campaign is centred on ‘building a better tomorrow, today.’ IKEA Canada has been making subtle steps in the right direction for quite some time now. Since 1996, employees have planted thousands of trees in dozens of communities. The company also proudly owns two wind farms in Alberta that produce enough renewable energy to exceed its total cross-country consumption. It’s something they haven’t talked about much in the past (one of their values is humbleness) but under the leadership of the Canadian retailer’s CMO Lauren MacDonald, the retailer has started to become more overtly purpose-led. And what better way to get messages embedded deep within people’s hearts than Christmas ads?

The ‘Magic Man’ ad tells the story about a young boy aspiring to be a magician. We see him attempt a card trick in front of his family and we realise, as his deck of cards cascades to the floor, that he has not yet perfected his craft. We see him go on to attempt some more tricks, growing more and more disheartened with each failure. His grandfather watches on sympathetically and comes up with a solution. He goes into the garage and pulls out an old shelving unit. He spruces it up with a custom door, a fresh coat of paint and wheels. Voila! We have a magician’s cabinet. And you can’t help but get goosebumps when you watch the boy proudly perform his first successful trick.

At a time of year when consumerism reaches its peak, I can’t help but appreciate what IKEA Canada is doing here – reminding consumers of the inherent value (or magic, if you will) in gifts that come from the heart. Of course they manage to plug some new products whilst simultaneously portraying themselves as profoundly CSR-focused (it is an ad, after all), but the message is still there. It’s so easy to get caught up in the spending frenzy this time of year. And it’s so easy to forget that oftentimes the best gifts are ones that don’t break the bank.

This year I got my grandpa a Kikkerland Crank Music Box that plays ‘Singin’ in the Rain.’ It’s tiny and cost somewhere between €7 and €10. He used to pick me up from school every Wednesday and whenever it was raining, I could rest assured he would be humming the tune. It’s not quite a repurposed shelving unit but it’s from the heart all the same. I can’t wait to see his face when he opens it!

Kerry Matzelle, Brand Strategist

Originally hailing from New York City, Kerry’s been livin’ it up Emerald Isle style since 2014. She holds a Psychology degree and a record for rolling the fastest burrito in the Republic of Ireland – both which she deems of equal importance. She’s absolutely thrilled to be part of Team Neworld. What a time to be alive!