Fast forward to that evening. I’m chatting with David Niven about Hollywood in the 60s* when I receive a YouTube message from an IKEA insider. A BIG IKEA insider no less, one of the top people responsible for marketing the company in the UK and Ireland…
Subject: Love your take on my cats
Just a quick note to heap compliments on your parody of my Cats Ad. I’m loving it and can’t understand why you don’t have as many hits as the original.
I have a favour to ask you though, is there a chance you could share the mpeg with me? I would love to make it available on the IKEA intranet for co-workers. And I would also like to include it in our marketing presentations as a fun addition to the entire IKEA cats campaign.
“ZOMG!” I thought, “ How brilliant to see a global company with a sense of humour!” David Niven was laughing so much he got brandy in his moustache*.
Our email exchange went on, with the IKEA bod stating “btw, we all love it, creative agency included. In fact, I watched it again this weekend, just for some weekend cheer… I might even be able to get it in front of the board.”
Now here are two ways to look at this situation… You could say I’d stolen footage that I didn’t create, added a piss-taking voiceover, changed the branding and uploaded it to my personal YouTube Channel without permission in order to get a few laughs. This is all undeniably true.
However, the more modern and, in my opinion, much more beneficial approach is what has happened here. IKEA is clearly a huge corporation with a strong enough brand to withstand parody videos like mine. In fact, any discussion, parody or sharing of any kind only increases brand awareness, which is a good thing for the company. They get to show off their sense of humour by allowing it to remain online, and increase views of their brand by 74,000 (at time of writing).
But what’s the alternative? Demanding parodies be taken down is an ugly and highly unpopular act. This is something the music companies are yet to get their heads round, as the Newport State of Mind viral showed earlier this year. After MJ Delaney and friends made the fantastic Jay-Z parody and gathered over 2million views EMI Music Publishing Ltd put in a copyright claim and had the video removed from YouTube. The official line was:
“When a song is created based wholly on any of our writers’ works, those writers need to grant their permission. If that permission isn’t granted, then we ask the service in question to remove the song.”
The online backlash reflected badly on EMI and the established recording industry as a whole, seeming to highlight the archaic way in which they fail to grasp the beauty of the internet.
So fair play IKEA, I tip my hat to you. You’ve passed the test with flying colours by using the internet to your advantage instead of trying to fight it. As such, I’m writing this blog post now, further re-enforcing the positive aspects of the brand and creating more noise for this producer of beautifully designed and innovative homewares which retail at affordable prices and can be found in stores across the country.
Damn, how did that happen? You marketing guys are good…