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Interactive Annual 20:
Mobile

A New Kind of Catalog by IKEA

Launch Live Site

“For the first time ever, this made me actually want to receive a catalog in the mail.”
—Troy Lachance

“IKEA always pushes itself to deliver. Its print catalogs were always in high demand, and now they’ve done it in the digital space. The ability to decode the pages through the app to discover additional content was such a wonderful touch. Not just engaging, but so functional.”
—Kris Kiger


Overview: With customers increasingly using their smartphones to get the same product information and decor inspiration provided by IKEA’s print catalogs, the global furniture retailer knew a revamp of its iconic mailer, then in its 61st year, was in order. But with over 200 million print copies still effectively serving readers of all ages in every corner of the world, an all-digital approach was premature. McCann New York devised a balanced solution. Working with interactive studio All of Us, the agency created a mobile app companion to the catalog that let readers scan printed images to unlock a whole world of additional online content—expanded product details, photo galleries, how-to videos from designers and more. McCann’s three-pronged UX/design, technological and storytelling overhaul turned the catalog experience into an evolving innovation platform worthy of a brand that “dares to be different.”

  • • From start to finish, the catalog, mobile app, extended films and interactive experiences took nearly ten months to produce.
  • • The app uses proprietary image-recognition technology that’s synced with the IKEA product database to load digital content that is localized and up-to-date, extending the catalog’s shelf life from a couple of weeks to an entire year.
  • • The digitally enhanced catalog debuted in 2012, receiving three times the attention of the previous year’s mailer and topping the charts as the most downloaded marketing app for a brand in the iTunes store.

Comments by Rich Whalen:

How did this project compare to others you’ve worked on in the past? “There aren’t many projects out there like the IKEA catalog. More importantly, there aren’t many clients out there like IKEA. It was a blessing to work with a company that wanted to push the envelope and evolve the traditional catalog to leverage so many different types of media. We immersed an agency team within IKEA in Sweden, and this co-located team approach proved invaluable, breaking down many barriers—something we think about with every new client engagement.”

What was the most challenging aspect of the project? “For every great feature, there were at least five features left on the table that we were unable to complete. We debated native vs. web, and using augmented reality features to render the products in 3-D, since the download size of the app was large. Plus, the scanning technology had never been used on this scale before, necessitating increased testing time. Time constraints, technology barriers and traditional thinking made some of the great ideas impossible for the first year.”

Credits

Laura Lejano, user experience designer
Gemma Thomas, design director
Zack Donald/Koen Malfait, associate creative directors
Nick Cristea/Simon Sankarayya, creative directors
Andreas Dahlqvist/Linus Karlsson, chief creative officers
Mark Fallows/Stefan Feissli, technology directors
Hana Sutch/Rich Whalen/Jaesun Yeon, project managers
EC Software/McCann New York/Metaio, project design and development
All of Us/McCann New York (New York, NY), ad agencies
IKEA, client


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