As per the World Report on Disability published by WHO, roughly One billion people, or 15% of the world population, have some disability that restricts them from leading a normal life. In addition, several other research from global agencies and universities highlight the difficulties faced by such people in leading normal lives.

Ikea has democratized the accessibility of furniture for the often overlooked and ignored audience. It is one of the giant furniture retailers for designing differently-abled furniture. It has kept the designs and add-ons open source free of cost to anyone, anywhere, and anytime.

These freely downloadable designs can be used with the help of 3D printing. These attachments can make the furniture adaptable to the needs of all. What do these furniture add-ons add value?

They make it safer and easier to use for people with special needs. Used in sofas, lighting, curtains, closets, etc., these attachments have made it so much easier for people with specific disabilities. So now everyone can enjoy the beauty of furniture to improve their quality of life.

Ikea is bridging the gap through meaningful and relevant additions to its product lines. Initially, it was developed for the Ikea retail stores in Israel in 2019, but it is now available in more than 120 countries.

Milbat and Access Israel were the NGOs with whom Ikea collaborated to produce tangible solutions to improve the quality of home living for the differently-abled audience. The brainchild behind this amazing initiative is McCann Tel Aviv.

Ikea ThisAble Campaign is a powerful example of how brands can create a better place to live for all. It showcases their authenticity and sincere attempt to normalize the differences.

Ikea ThisAble Campaign is focused on leveraging the power of 3D Printing Technology

The term “3D printing” can refer to a variety of processes in which material is deposited, joined, or solidified under computer control to create a three-dimensional object, with the material being added together (such as plastics, liquids, or powder grains being fused together), typically layer by layer. With technological innovation, Brands can use Artificial Intelligence or 3D Printing to engage, enrich, and empower consumer lives.

Ikea has used 3D printing technology to implement the ThisAble campaign. Building tangible products from the digital world, 3D printing can enable the spread of innovation. The blueprints of these designs are freely downloadable with detailed instruction guides on the campaign website.

In 2019, McCann Tel Aviv won the prestigious Cannes Lions Grand Prix for the Ikea Thisable campaign in the health and wellness category. This was not just a fancy campaign but a breakthrough scalable product innovation. An excellent blend of technology and humanistic values, full marks go to Ikea and McCann for this ideation and seamless execution.

Changing the narrative from Disability to ThisAbility – a transformational campaign, From Talk the Talk to Walk the Talk, Differently abled Lives do matter. These are noble acts and not just creative ad campaigns. Ikea has championed a cause, spearheaded a long-overdue change.

Access will be one of the most significant differentiators for brands in the future. Moreover, Ikea has already gained its USP with ThisAbles an influential idea and effective implementation. Actionable grassroots change is the need of the hour, and Ikea, with its diversity and inclusive policy, has undoubtedly won the hearts of all

This campaign teaches Brand to do good with their actions

Ikea has opened doors for a niche market that was often ignored and not well-served. Ikea, sensing an opportunity, has risen to the occasion with not just lip service but with concrete and tangible actions. This initiative is core to their business and category. It is not a cosmetic attempt to create fuzzy illusions. Ikea’s Brand Personality for me is compassionate, kind, thoughtful, and sensitive. 

Brands have the power to do good, to behave responsibly, and bring about behavioral breakthroughs with their actions. They can be original, intuitive, and capable of driving social change by improving the world around us.

However, some brands still engage in woke advertising (watch below video from The Economist to learn more), a phenomenon in which brands do run purpose-driven campaigns but fail to take real-significant action. Such superficial actions destroy the faith of consumers in marketers, which is already in scare amount. We do not need such empty, shallow sentiments. We want brands to be much more meaningful and actionable.

What is "woke" advertising?

Why are global brands latching on to social injustices to sell their products?

Posted by The Economist on Friday, October 4, 2019

Ikea, you got it right. Thank you for being so inclusive and sensitive towards needs of differently-abled people.


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Jinal Shah is currently the Assistant Professor at NMIMS Deemed to be University. Prior to this she has been the Head of the Department, Coordinator and Assistant professor of the Bachelor of Management Studies Dept of SIES college for 8 years. She has won Five times the award for best research paper in various International Conferences from prestigious educational institutions. She has also published two cases in the 15th edition of Marketing Management by Phillip Kotler.

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