The Swedish furniture and homeware giant is encouraging customers to "pee on a special advertisement" to check if they are pregnant — and those who discover they are will obtain a special discount on a crib.
The paper used in this latest venture actually contains the same technology as that used in a normal pregnancy test kit.
The company hopes its novel approach will, however, encourage many would-be parents to visit its stores across Europe in the hope of obtaining a cheaper cot — or even just to discover if their baby dreams are, in fact, correct.
The advertisement will feature in the latest Ikea catalogue, the paper of which contains similar technology to a pregnancy test. If the test is positive, then the ad reveals a special discounted price on cribs. Would-be mums will then be invited to have a splash in the hope of paying less cash!
The marketing innovation is the brainchild of Swedish agency Akestam Holst who have worked closely in the past on controversial advertising campaigns involving Ikea. Its ad for the furniture company in 2016 won praise for featuring a divorced couple — until then, normally a taboo subject for ad agencies.
Genius idea from Ikea — Ad doubles as a pregnancy test. If you’re pregnant, peeing on the ad reveals a special discounted price on cots. pic.twitter.com/kWuJfOwpIX
— Andrew Bloch (@AndrewBloch) 10 January 2018
Its latest venture has been helped by Mercene Labs who revealed it had used the pregnancy test strip as a starting point and used the same technology to detect antibodies that bind to the pregnancy hormone HCG, resulting in a color change. "Technical advancements made during the work with this campaign have the potential to improve medical diagnostics," the company explained.
When it comes to advertising campaigns, Ikea has pushed the boundaries, although one venture in China resulted in the company having to pull its ads after a series of complaints over it being overly-sexist.
IKEA to pull ‘sexist’ advert in China following backlash https://t.co/5rvkD000dK— mkhaydee (@MKHAYDEE) 16 December 2017
Ikea is not, of course, the first company to use urination in product promotion, having been introduced in 2001 when Animal Planet put urine-scented ads at the bottom of lampposts to attract dogs — whose owners' gaze was then direct to a larger advertisement promoting a dog show.
Bold and naked ambition
Major global companies are no strangers in trying to obtain free publicity by attempting to go that extra mile when it comes to promoting its brands and products.
In 2012 Felix Baumgartner became the first person to break the sound barrier by falling 23 miles to earth in a stunt organised by the energy drink Red Bull. The stratos space jump attempt was posted on YouTube and attracted more than eight million hits.
A 100-foot tall image of a naked female model was also beamed onto an iconic London landmark by the men's magazine FHM resulting in Gail Porter becoming a household name thanks to her pert posterior unlike many of the politicians within the Houses of Parliament!
Not all publicity stunts are commercially motivated, however, as the World Wildlife Fund encouraged millions of people in 172 countries around the globe to switch off non-essential lights as part of 2015 Earth Hour.