After 25 years working in sustainability, Steve Howard made a surprising move: he went to work for IKEA. In today’s talk, he explains why by giving a sense of just how far IKEA is going to make sure it has a positive environmental impact. Steve Howard: Let's go all-in on selling sustainability “Sustainability’s gone from a ‘nice-to-do’ to a ‘must-do,’” says Howard in this bold talk. “It’s about what we do right here, right now, and for the rest of our working lives.”
Many companies have sustainability goals. But IKEA’s are quite radical. By 2016, the assemble-it-yourself furniture megastore — which is so much a part of our lives — will only stock LED bulbs. By 2020, IKEA stores will produce more energy than they use.
IKEA, what with its Swedish meatballs, is a part of the cultural conversation in a way few brands are. So could their sustainability efforts push the needle for others? Here, a collection of memes, homage websites, and fan-made videos that speak to how entrenched IKEA is in our lives.
The IKEA Monkey. Last year, a monkey wearing a coat was found wandering the aisles of an IKEA in Toronto. The people of the Internet jumped on board, creating an Ikea Monkey Twitter account, photoshopping the monkey into tons of photos, and tweeting with the hashtag #IkeaMonkey. On December 10, 2012, Canadian journalist Tom Podolec tweeted, “#IkeaMonkey is a Rhesus Macaque Monkey Approx. 7 months old. In good health; stressed. Jacket is wool and said to be his favourite.” The monkey’s owners were fined for having a prohibited animal.
The IKEA Song. What happens when you write a song about wooing a lady in an IKEA store? This video from singer/songwriter Brad Go.
Hot Malm. The best way to describe Hot Malm is as an “IKEA-themed porn parody site.” A pair of twin beds is captioned “Twin Blonde Malms,” a shot of a bed’s headboard reads “Hot Malm from Behind,” and “Check out the Pussy on this Hot Malm” refers to a cat on a bed. (MALM, remember, is an IKEA bedroom series.) Bonus: the Ikea Monkey sits in a corner of the website, with a speech bubble: “Feeling lonely? Click here now!”
“Fireflies” Parody in Ikea. And then there’s this, which a description would ruin, so…
If Ikea Made Instructions for Everything. A 2010 College Humor piece illustrates IKEA-style directions for creating a “HÖUSS,” “TRÜSST,” a “HÄDRÖNN CJÖLIDDER,” and more.
Herding Cats. IKEA itself can rival the cleverest parodists: in a 2010 experiment, the store released 100 cats into a UK store. Watch to the end—slow-mo shots of cats in IKEA are surprisingly moving.
Room 23. This quite remarkable four-minute short film, created in 48 hours as part of a contest in the Netherlands, imagines the lives of IKEA catalog models.
A store full of drama. And finally, we have to give it up to artist Guy Ben Ner. He shot this drama in IKEA (sans permission) … with his real family.