East Meets West in Ikea Canada's Charming, Musical Holiday Spot

Spotlighting a family of South-Asian heritage

At Ikea Canada's holiday celebration, ears wiggle, ponytails bop and pot-lids tap in time to the beat.

We visit a typical Canadian household of South-Asian heritage, where friends and family from different generations "Assemble Together," per the end line. But don't expect to hear Christmas carols on the soundtrack. Instead, "Chaiyya Chaiyya," a catchy Bollywood tune from '90s that's sold millions of copies in India, sets the festive tone.

East meets West in fun fashion, with Christmas trees and garland sharing space with tea-lights, marigold strings and a table piled high with curries and Aloo cuisine.

IKEA | Assemble Together

Brands from Etsy to Sprite have unwrapped inclusive messages this festive season. Trolls chastised John Lewis for being "too woke" in its casting, displaying shocking ignorance of everything the holidays should stand for.

Here, Ikea makes the point that different cultures can harmoniously co-exist, as families take the best of both worlds to create loving traditions all their own. It's a serious theme—refreshingly front and center, as the whole cast is South Asian—with humorous touches adding a special spark.

"We wanted the warm, heartfelt tone to reflect the significance of being able to gather together this year, but also wanted to create something light, fun and celebratory—because that really is the spirit of the season," says Rethink partner and creative director Dhaval Bhatt.

To that end, the music selection "really helped that joyful but meaningful tone come together," Bhatt says. "It has a bit of nostalgia to it," even for Western audiences, from its use in movies and TV shows around the globe, including Outsourced and CSI: Miami.

"Canadian families have reimagined how they want to celebrate the holidays, and we wanted to reflect that, while still celebrating the essence of the season," says Ikea Canada marketing lead Johanna Andrén.

What's more, the notion of "assembly" could be viewed as a self-deprecating nod from Ikea, given the oft-mocked difficulty of putting together some of its beds, bookcases, wardrobes and dressers. (Let's see how much cheer remains after the unboxing, with pieces strewn across the floor and a nail-gun nowhere to be found. Truly an experience that transcends all cultural barriers.)

"Our audience is the many Canadians, from friends who are family to multi-generation households responsible for hosting all manner of celebrations," Andrén says. "There are consistent elements of holiday celebrations that we can all relate to: holiday décor, entertaining, cooking, gifting, and all the pains and pleasures of planning as we strive to make memories together."

She adds: "It's the commonalities in making our traditions that we hope will resonate with our diverse audience, and the majority of early viewers felt that the spot reflected and appreciated the different ways that people come together to celebrate the holidays."

The work feels in step with past socially attuned efforts from the Ikea-Rethink team, most of which boasted ecological themes. These include a ScrapsBook to help cut down on kitchen waste, dancers hyping sustainability, and a "Stuff Monster" composed of unwanted household items.


Title: Assemble Together

Client: IKEA

Agency: Rethink
CCO: Aaron Starkman
Executive Creative Director: Mike Dubrick
Head of Art & Creative Director: Joel Holtby
Creative Director: Dhaval Bhatt
Associate Creative Director & Art Director: Skye Deluz
Associate Creative Director & Copywriter: Naeem Ghafari, Jacquelyn Parent
Strategist: Shereen Ladha
Chief Strategy Officer: Sean McDonald
Director Of Broadcast: Shelby Spigelman
Senior Broadcast Producer: Anna Tricinci
Director of Print Production: AJ Merrick

Production House: Merchant Studios
Director: Tim Godsall
Executive Producer: Ian Webb
Production House Producer: Shannon Barnes
DOP: Adam Marsden
Cultural Consultant: Noor Dhanda

Post Production House: Outsider Editorial
Editor: Chris Murphy
Assistant Editor: Kerstin Juby
Post Production Producer: Kristina Anzlinger
Transfer: Alter Ego -- Wade Odlum, Colourist
On-Line: The Vanity -- Mike Medeiros + Naveen Srivastava, Online Artists; Stephanie
Pennington, Executive Producer
Audio House: Vapor Music
Music/Audio Director: Ted Rosnick
Audio Engineer: Ryan Chalmers
Audio Producer: Kat Stewart
Licensed Music Clearance: Music Rights Clearance; Katie Seline + Francois Lachance

Account Services:
Sarah Riedlinger, Group Account Director
Kiara Wilson, Group Account Director
Hayley Kleynhans, Account Director
Melissa Luk, Account Manager
Chaityadeep Singh Mainee, Account Manager
Catherine Blouin-Mainville, Account Director (FR)
Gabrielle Bergeron, Account Manager (FR)

Johanna Andren, Chief Marketing Officer
Claudia Mayne, Director of Brand Marketing
Noah Keefe, Marketing Communications Specialist
Jordan Sequeira, Marketing Campaign Leader
Jennifer Bauer, Integrated Media Leader
Lisa Huie, Public Relations Leader
Lindsay Marsh, Interior Design Leader

Other Credits:

Media: Carat
Vanessa Coutinho, Associate Account Director
Faizal Shaikh, Account Supervisor
Monalyn Quelnat, Media Planner
Crystal Kim, Media Coordinator

CRM: Wunderman Thompson

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