What is IKEA’s Beef with Black Cats?

By Cole

Swedish furniture maker IKEA recently hired a new ad agency who concocted a scheme to let 100 cats and kittens loose one night in an IKEA in Wembley, England, to shoot a TV commercial. The “actors” weren’t trained stunt cats, but they seemed mostly light-colored purebreds with a few calicos and one bald gray one thrown in. There wasn’t a single black cat. Such discrimination could only have been deliberate.

But why? Black cats look GREAT on IKEA stuff. We’re trés chic!

Here’s a video about how they filmed the commercial…

I think it was harebrained to let the cats roam the whole store and warehouse at once. They couldn’t possibly have captured all the picturesque things those cats must have done. The best bits probably never made it to film. It was also dangerous for the cats because they were in a strange place surrounded by strange people and never knew who was lurking around the corner.

IKEA’s ad people said they used cats because the new tagline is “Happy Inside” and cats have a reputation as pleasure-seeking missiles who will do anything to be comfortable and content.

Here’s the finished 1-minute ad…

Just imagine the same ad with 100 dogs, barking and drooling and cocking their legs. At the end of the shoot, the humans wouldn’t have had to just vacuum fur off the cushions, but shovel steaming piles while trying to salvage the furniture that had been peed on.

As the next step in their advertising campaign, IKEA should let some of the cats star in a reality show. The ones who flashed their claws would be naturals. They could call it The Real Housecats of Wembley and furnish their homes exclusively with IKEA products.

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12 Responses to What is IKEA’s Beef with Black Cats?

  1. Zappa says:

    Hi Cole!
    That was amazing! Do I smell a Clio? (I believe that is the appropriate award) If you look at the palette of the entire commercial,they were obviously going for the neutral/ambient effect,so all the cats were of the beige-y spectrum.A black cat or Tuxedo such as myself would have been too much of a stand out.My mom says that shopping at Ikea is a bit of a snore,nice,but,yawn.

    Zappa

  2. catsworking says:

    Zappa, I agree that the pale palette was deliberate, but just think what a stand-out even one black cat would have been. The star of the commercial! Even bigger than the GEICO gecko. NOW we’d be talking Clio potential!

    Karen has these thick red pipe IKEA fixtures in her bathroom that the previous owners installed. They have GREAT functionality, but have always limited her color scheme. Now she wants to replace them with brushed nickel, but she LOVES the towel bar, which has 3 arms placed vertically that swing out (the bathroom is so small, there’s no room for regular towel bars). It’s apparently a common design in Europe, but you can’t find them here. IKEA is the only place she’s found with one that looks like it would be right.

  3. Tuxi says:

    Hi Cole and Zappa! Doesn’t IKEA see the dramatic feel of black and tuxedo cats on a white or beige couch? We would make the human eye instantly go to the couch! Like in the Pledge hair pickup ad with the lady and all the black cats and white couch. What we’d like to know is who comes up with the supposedly Scandinavian names of the furniture, along the lines of Goosh, Nuter and Fahrt! Very strange to read the names when browsing the catalog!

  4. catsworking says:

    Tuxi, I’m with you. Adele’s fur just doesn’t make the same statement that my and Yul’s fur does – unless she rolls around on one of Karen’s black sweaters. Even her tumbleweeds in the kitchen make it still seem CLEAN, whereas a black wad blowing across the kitchen floor screams, “You need to SWEEP!”

    I never noticed the IKEA names much and wonder if they all mean something in Swedish. They look like a combo of real words (Karen says Godmorgon is probably “good morning”) and names.

    I’m looking at the 2010 catalog and my favorites are Plinga, Snartig, and Bastis (which happens to be a cat bed – I’m smelling a goddess reference there)

  5. Imabear says:

    As I’m pretty sure I mentioned before, all 3 of our cats are black rescues. The rescue people told us that the black ones are the hardest to place because people are so stupid (she actually said “superstitious” – same thing). However, Johnson has a commercial for their pet hair pickup thingy with a couple of dozen black cats on a white sofa. We like that one.

  6. catsworking says:

    They tell me that 6 of Karen’s 8 cats were all black or tuxedos, and 5 of them came from shelters. Karen just has a thing for black cats. Lucky me!

  7. adele says:

    Alice noticed that there wasn’t even one dark tabby in the IKEA commercial, although both she and I thought that the light colored palette of cats went very well with the furniture. But she agrees that a handsome black or tuxedo cat would have made an excellent accent.

    Adele must have looked at the commercial and pondered her career in television.

    BTW, Cole, have you guys heard about W.C.Fields, the escaped spider monkey, who is terrorizing San Antonio? I know you don’t usually write about primates, but this seems right up your alley.

  8. catsworking says:

    Adele, I haven’t heard about the monkey on the lam. I’ll have to check into that. Thanks for the lead!

  9. John Dikson says:

    Yes, ” The idea behind the work is that cats know better than anything what makes them feel happy inside. They live their lives in pursuit of their own comfort.”,thats why they are treating like brand ambassador for the ad. 😀

  10. catsworking says:

    Welcome, John! If you don’t mind, I am posting a link back to your own blog post on this topic. You make some interesting points about the psychology of advertising. Cats Working happens to have its own resident cat in a sweater, Yul.

    http://kyledavidgroup.com/blog/ikea-s-kitten-experiment-viral-success

  11. Tuxi says:

    All I can say is Keep those cat commercials coming, folks! Mom said she likes the animal ads better than alot of the shows! We like the one where the rabbit gets to laughing at the snake with the baby rattle tied to its back end and trying to be a rattlesnake. For cat commercials, our favorite is still the cat roundup ad with the cowboys and the cats. We don’t remember what it was for but it was a few years ago. We watched a show that followed the making of it and alot of the cats were computer generated from the cats chosen for the ad. Very pretty cats!

  12. catsworking says:

    Karen is the same way! She loves any ad with animals. Her all-time idol was the Taco Bell dog (who has since passed away).

    Another favorite was Morris the Cat for 9-Lives. She still has T-shirts with pictures of the “original” Morris that she never wears, but can’t bear to throw away. They’re antiques.

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