IKEA Giving Customers Discount in Exchange for Bringing in Urine-Soaked Advertisement


While retailers sometimes offer shoppers the opportunity to perform a task in order to receive a discounted or free product, Ikea is taking that idea to a new level with a concept unveiled in a current magazine ad campaign.

The quirky furniture giant’s ad in a Swedish women’s magazine doubles as a pregnancy test, giving women a discount for submitting the ad with a urine-based positive result.

As the New York Post reported, the firm responsible for Ikea’s advertising was able to insert the same mechanism responsible for standard at-home pregnancy tests into a paper ad.

“The pregnancy test strip was used as a starting point, which relies on antibodies that bind to the pregnancy hormone hCG, resulting in a color change,” read a statement released by Akestam Holst.

Instead of a typical indication of pregnancy, the ads reveal upon contact with the pregnancy hormone a discounted price redeemable for a crib pictured on the page.

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The Swedish ad agency reported that it faced a few hurdles on the road to bringing its urine-tinged vision to life.

“In order to make the interactive functions of this ad work in reality, we had to make several technical advancements,” the company said.

The firm coordinated with experts in the field to produce a working test for a wide market.

“For scaling up of this technique and adopting it to the physical format of a printed ad, Mercene Labs has used their experience in development of surface active materials for microfluidics and medical diagnostics,” the statement read.

Do you think this ad is appropriate, or does it go too far?

While the edgy ad does find a way to inject tech into a traditional print ad, the requirement for its redemption is enough to turn some critics off completely.

Though the ad is currently only running in Sweden, a number of media outlets across the U.S. and around the world picked up the story, sharing footage of the ad being tested and gathering feedback from locals.

As with the conversation on social media, most people found the concept to be clever, gross or some combination of both.

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For its part, Akestam Holst believes the advancements behind this campaign have the potential to do a lot more than just spark social media debate and save pregnant shoppers some cash.

“Careful selection of materials, together with a controlled capillary flow have been crucial for the success of this project,” the firm’s statement concluded. “Technical advancements made during the work with this campaign have the potential to improve medical diagnostics.”

While Ikea’s is the first urine-based ad of its kind, AdWeek reported that it is not the first company to use the fluid to its advantage.

Animal Planet once advertised a dog show with signs on lampposts that included the scent of urine near the ground to attract dog walkers, who in turn would be more inclined to see the eye-level promotional ad.

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Chris Agee is an American journalist with more than 15 years of experience in a wide range of newsrooms.
Chris Agee is an American journalist with more than 15 years of experience in a variety of newsroom settings. After covering crime and other beats for newspapers and radio stations across the U.S., he served as managing editor at Western Journalism until 2017. He has also been a regular guest and guest host on several syndicated radio programs. He lives in Phoenix, Arizona, with his wife and son.
Texas Press Association, Best News Writing - 2012
Bachelor of Arts, Journalism - Averett University
Professional Memberships
Online News Association
Topics of Expertise
Politics, Entertainment