Ikea Brings an Aesop's Fable Wonderfully to Life in 'The Hare'

A tale for modern times, and modern bedding

What fun this is! Ikea's "The Hare" brings Aesop's fable "The Tortoise and the Hare" to modern times. And while most of it is pretty hare-focused—he likes the attention—it's paced at a leisurely, tortoisey speed. 

This is a 90-second spot whose details are worth the linger, because so much fleshes the story out.

Ikea | The Hare

Mother London quickly introduces us to our protagonist, The Hare, who's sauntering home one night in the city when he's distracted by friends, and fun-having commences.

Things end in the kebab shop—Aesop's Kebab, to be exact—which is London's path of least resistance when nothing's left open. He consequently misses the bus and starts the long walk home, stepping over an old newspaper with the headline "THE RACE IS ON!" Dun-dun-duuuuuun.

At this point, the night's a wash. The Hare knows it, and we know it. (Where is the Tortoise, we wonder? Wait for it.)

Instead of pouring himself into bed, Hare keeps hanging out, engaged in achingly familiar time-vampirism: playing the guitar, sending messages, watching videos, taking an astonishing amount of selfies. The Hare is us at our worst. Poorly disciplined, easily distracted by social affordances.

When he finally collapses into slumber on his couch (laptop on pelvis—we hope, but doubt, he is protected by Superwear), the camera pans past the thin apartment wall and to the other side, where Tortoise lies in sweet repose. That's when it hits us: This isn't a story about today.

"Tomorrow starts tonight," Ikea concludes in a smug Aesop sort of way. But before that, we get to meet our other friend, Tortoise—his white sheets, his furry carpet, his work shirts hanging neatly in an open wardrobe. He eases up slow, pats on a marathon sticker, and glides into the open street at dawn, brimming with wholesome ethic for the race ahead.

The Hare, of course, rises late. And probably horribly hungover.

A great thing about Ikea's advertising—and so much of Mother's work for the brand—is its deep focus on the story. There isn't a single narrative moment sacrificed to superfluous plugging; all of that is left for the home scenes, when, ideally, we are so immersed that we are really paying attention to the way these guys are living. And we trust enough, by then, that the subtle price tags that appear over select items are not a distraction.

In this case, the restraint is admirable. So much effort has gone into creating spaces that convey who these people are. We've met them before, sometimes even been them. And we also know Ikea: There's plenty we recognize, from picture frames to rugs. 

But only a single item is showcased with captions: the Ofelia Vass bedding, 100 percent sustainable cotton, £40 ($51). A very Tortoise choice.

This is something we've often admired about the brand. Though Fight Club turned those little floating prices into a bleak trope, in reality Ikea has always done a decent job of remembering that what it sells are, at best, backdrops to the real story, not the story itself—even when it plays with the line between them.

We're reminded of an Ikea/Mother London ad from last year, "The Nightclub," which, funnily enough, seems like the type of scene that both Tortoise and Hare might be into. It's a slumber party in a club, providing ample opportunities to showcase Ikea goods outside their natural habitats.

But even there, the story moves at the pace it wants, and it's beautiful to behold—people drifting from play to rest, and lambs that leap in synchrony over the mezzanine, then explode into confetti. Again, just a single object is captioned: the Malm bedframe. (It's £170, or $217, if you wondered.)

Gorgeous work overall. And "The Hare" is a pleasing tribute to the tales that make us as a culture, one more community dream to add to the archive.

Check out the making-of below.

Making THE HARE (& the tortoise) for Ikea

Client: Ikea 
Spot: "The Hare"
Media: TV/Cinema 

Agency: Mother, London 
Executive Creative Directors: Ana Balarin, Hermeti Balarin 
Creative Directors: Thom Whitaker, Danielle Outhwaite-Noel 
Art Director: Anthony Montagne, Oli Rimoldi 
Copywriter: Anthony Montagne, Oli Rimoldi 
Agency Producer: Jenny Fann 
Production Assistant: Ellie Thornton 
Account Director: Lou de Keyzer 
Production Director: Giedre Minotaite
Strategy: Scarlett Spence, Imogen Carter

Production Company: Pulse 
Director: Sam Pilling 
Pulse Producer: Chris Harrison  
Pulse DOP: Stephane Fontaine  

Post: David Keegan at NineteenTwenty  
Editing: Paul Hardcastle at Trim  
Music: Witness The Fitness, Roots Manuva  
Composer / Arranger: Rodney Smith  
Music Consultant: Arnold Hattingh at Theodore  
Sound: Sam Ashwell at 750mph  
Voiceover: Per Mattson  

Angela Natividad
Angela Natividad is the European markets editor at Muse by Clio. She also writes about gaming and fashion, and whatever else she's interested in, really. She's based in Paris and North Italy, so if you're local, say hi. She might eat all your food.

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