A blog pulling together all my fings.


with 12 comments


So I’m hanging out the other day doing something totally awesome like skateboarding (a lie) or fighting a panther (another lie) when I think “I’ll check how the IKEA Cats Parody is doing on YouTube” (that bit’s true). Well blimey, it had only been featured by Boing Boing, Laughing Squid, The Awesomer and The Daily Edge and amassed over 20,000 extra views in one day! I was so pleased I did a moonwalk*.

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

Hi Barry,

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.

Happy Monday!

“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*.

David Niven was not actually there but it did happen

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).

Newport State of Mind

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…

* – These bits are lies. The rest is true.

Written by barrypilling

October 20, 2010 at 1:42 pm

12 Responses

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  1. All hail IDEA folk for supporting your video…they have taste! I’m touting it around work at the moment, those who have seen it love it…you’ll be a global sensation yet Mr P!


    October 20, 2010 at 9:42 pm

  2. That should have said IKEA folk…way past my bedtime


    October 20, 2010 at 9:43 pm

  3. Just goes to show that IKEA is being managed by people who know what the pulse is out there! Congratulations! I love your video as well.

    Stacey Sheldon

    October 20, 2010 at 9:59 pm

  4. You’re a genius Barry Pilling so it had to happen eventually. Now the vid has gawn viral you can relax in your leather moccasins and smoking jacket and dream up a new one with a large $$$$$$$ budget that I’m sure IKEA will supply. Or alternatively they will let you keep all the cats they used in the ad. Huh?

    Tom in Oz

    October 20, 2010 at 10:04 pm

  5. Dude, IKEA rocks because they’re Swedish.

    You know it’s true. x


    October 21, 2010 at 12:33 am

  6. Baz, you totally rocked that vid AND you deserve all the recognition you get

    the vid makes me squee with delight everytime

    well done son x


    October 21, 2010 at 7:07 am

  7. Barry, you’ve gone Europe-wide too. I live in Brussels, love the vid, sharing it with all school friends. You are becoming a legend.

    Carys D

    October 21, 2010 at 5:06 pm

  8. Love the video, seriously funny. Have been passing it on to friends, but a bit frustrated that my Francophone friends aren’t quite able to get it. Any interest in a subtitled version going out?! I’ll translate!


    October 31, 2010 at 11:09 am

  9. Thanks for taking the time to discuss this, I feel strongly about it and love learning more on this topic. If possible, as you gain expertise, would you mind updating your blog with more information? It is extremely helpful for me. :)

    joey ramone

    December 30, 2010 at 6:08 am

  10. actually, i think you are emailing with a person from Mother, IKEA’s ad agency in the UK.


    January 8, 2011 at 10:31 am

  11. […] and Australia. 10th most popular is the Philippines because… well, I have no idea. In October I made a parody of the IKEA ‘Herding Cats’ advert which was featured on Boing Boing and various other sites, picking up 24,000 views in one day. This […]


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