Ashworth Associates was hired by IKEA Canada to work with them as an extension of their marketing department on a number of successful campaigns over a three-year period. Our goal through these campaigns was to use out of the box concepts to garner media coverage that went beyond simple product placement.

IKEA Living With Pets
National Media Relations and Promotions
Winter/Spring 2004

For Winter/Spring 2004 Ashworth Associates launched IKEA’s Living With Pets line creating a big buzz with no advertising or marketing promotional support. The entire campaign was driven through media relations to obtain coverage for one of the first lines of products available for pets in Canada.

We created strategic press materials that played on the extraordinary level of attachment people have with their pets. Through the use of humour, anecdotes and statistics, Living With Pets made a media impact that went far beyond publications for animal-lovers and was embraced by mainstream media.

The campaign inspired pet-related lifestyle, trend and product articles in general interest publications including Style at Home, Canadian Living, The Toronto Sun, The Toronto Star, Globe & Mail, National Post, Decormag, Leafs Nation, Where Toronto, and Les Idée’s de Ma Maison to name a few. IKEA’s spokesperson was interviewed on such TV and radio stations as CTV Gabereau, Radio Canada, and Jack FM.

PR Value $621,846



IKEA Hone Your Nesting Instinct Survey Campaign
National Media Relations and Promotions
Winter/Spring 2004

For Winter/Spring 2004, IKEA’s mind was on the bedroom and making its extensive new range a subject of discussion in both the design and news/lifestyle media. Ashworth Associates worked in conjunction with iCandy and the IKEA Marketing Team to develop a media relations campaign surrounding the Hone Your Nesting Instinct Survey.

The results of the survey offered both a design and a news/lifestyle angle that provided the basis for a humorous and helpful IKEA campaign that gave anxious parents-to-be the tools to understand the new role of the bedroom, avoid some pitfalls of new parenthood, and focus their domestic and design energies on making their home as relaxing and sleep-inducing as possible for baby and themselves.

The Hone Your Nesting Instinct campaign was covered in Health pages of numerous newspapers across Canada as well as by lifestyle media.

PR Value $ 488,644



IKEA Canada Vaughan Store Opening
Media Relations and Promotions
August 2003

For the opening of IKEA Vaughan, Ashworth Associates was given the media relations mandate to generate excitement prior, during and after the opening of IKEA Vaughan and to cultivate strategic media partners.

Prior to the opening, radio and television lifestyle programs started mentioning and taping stories in the new soon-to-be-opened store. We approached community newspapers, daily newspapers (business & lifestyle sections), television stations (lifestyle programs & news), radio stations (news, programs & DJ chats), monthly magazines (lifestyle & design) and ethnic media. The media kit featured all story angles: the HR story, opening release, facts & figures, and the wedding angle.

Strategies included “Marry Me Ikea”, a consumer contest designed to generate buzz and excitement as the winner would be awarded the prize of a lifetime by being married at IKEA Vaughan on Opening Day, a Media Preview at the Vaughan location one week prior to the official opening, as well as morning show promotion on the morning of the grand opening.

Radio stations partnered with IKEA and staged contest in the 2 weeks leading up to the opening where there viewers could win gift certificates to shop at IKEA Vaughan.

At the media preview, one week before opening day, we welcomed media into the lobby of the new store for an advance preview of the new store.

“Marry Me IKEA” was the first time that anyone had been married in an IKEA store. Lovebirds Cara Moretto, 28 and Safraz Rahaman, 29 exchanged their vows at IKEA Vaughan, as part of the store’s highly unconventional opening day celebrations. The happy couple, who were selected by random draw, enjoyed an all-expense paid “Marry Me IKEA” wedding – complete with limo, red carpet, Justice of the Peace, flowers and a champagne reception for their personal guests. They also received the ultimate gift: a $3500 IKEA shopping spree that they can use to start their new life and furnish their future.

City TV’s Breakfast Television was given exclusivity and captured the wedding LIVE with 6 cut-ins from IKEA Vaughan and Jennifer Valentyne sang “Here Comes the Bride”.

For opening day, Breakfast Baskets were delivered to Cottage country radio stations (CHAY FM, LIFE 100.3, CFOS, MIX 106, COUNTRY 93, CFJB-FM, CKMB-FM, CKLY-FM/Y92, CHKT-AM, CICX FM) as well as Toronto radio stations (CHUM AM, CHUM FM, MOJO, Q107, CFNY-FM/ THE EDGE, CBC, CHIN RADIO, CHIN TV, CFRB, CHFI, 680 NEWS, FAN 590, JACK FM, BT, AM 530, 88.5, Z103.5, MIX 99.9, EZROCK, THE NEW COUNTRY 95.3) to encourage on-air chat.

All IKEA stores in the GTA celebrated the opening of IKEA Vaughan with line-up give-aways, activities and special offers in store. As a result, there was 12,000 people in line at Vaughan, 4,000 in North York, 2,500 in Burlington and 3,000 in Etobicoke.

We were faced with some large obstacles to overcome:
• As IKEA Vaughan was the fourth IKEA store to open in the Toronto market we needed to focus on Toronto media as well as media north of the city into cottage country.
• Faced with the scheduling of the SARS benefit concert featuring the Rolling Stones on the same day as the opening of IKEA Vaughan, advance coverage was key to the success of the store opening.

Against the odds, the IKEA Vaughan store opening was the best to date and generated PR Values of over $950,000.



IKEA 2002 Catalogue Launch Party
National Media Relations and Promotions
August 1, 2002

IKEA’s 2002 collection was showcased to the media with only six weeks to prepare.

Media were sent two different invitations and invited to attend the two parties at the same address, at the same time on the same night in two side-by-side lofts. In order to avoid confusion both invitations were mailed in the same envelope. Each of the lofts showcased the different styles that were available at IKEA and the parties were very different.

Over 125 design professional, the media and key members of IKEA Sweden and IKEA USA attended the catalogue launch party.

The Dalahorse was the symbol of our event: it was incorporated at every opportunity in the invitation and the décor to being used as the media gift.

Ashworth Associates received the silver ACE Award for Public Relations Excellence in the Special Events Category in 2002 for the IKEA 2002 Catalogue Launch.

PR Value $658,560