Ikea Houses Refugees, OK Go Pitches Chinese Furniture: The Top 5 Ads Of The Week

Ricky Gervais mails it in for Netflix, 72andSunny gets spicy for Carl’s Jr., Dutch coffee brand Moyee has a stoned taste test, and much more.

Ikea Houses Refugees, OK Go Pitches Chinese Furniture: The Top 5 Ads Of The Week

This week, we’ve got two drastically different but prime examples of how marketers and agencies can go beyond their traditional roles. One is the Ikea Foundation’s Better Shelter, a temporary shelter developed in a partnership with the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees. With an expected lifespan of three years, the shelters, delivered in flat packs, are designed with special attention to transport volume, weight, price, safety, health, and comfort, and can be assembled on site without additional tools and equipment. The UNHCR just ordered 10,000 to start the production run, and these shelters should be helping displaced people around the world by this summer. The other is an agency-created burger for Carl’s Jr. called El Diablo, said to be the hottest burger in fast food. Both are unique and helpful in their own special way, and show brands and creative entities acting, not just saying.


Read more below about using the force, and the rest of our picks for this week’s best in brand creativity.

Optus/Netflix “Gervais”

What: Internet provider Optus recruited Ricky Gervais to herald the fact that Netflix landed on Australian shores.
Who: Netflix, Optus
Why We Care: Gervais pulls off one of the best celebrity endorsements of recent memory by giving us a glimpse into what just may be the inner monologue of every celebrity spokesperson ever.

Ikea Foundation “Better Shelter”

Assembly of Better Shelter prototype, Hilawyen Refugee camp, Dollo Ado, Ethiopia, July 2013. Photo: R. Cox, courtesy of Better Shelter

What: The Ikea Foundation partnered with the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) to develop flat-packed, easy-to-assemble refugee shelters that are now going into production after a test run.
Who: Ikea, United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees
Why We Care: A perfect example of a brand taking what it does well and applying it to solve a real-world problem greater than, say, giving middle-class consumers more organized closet space. The UNHCR has agreed to buy 10,000 of the shelters to start distributing them to refugee families around the world this summer.


Moyee “Under the Influence”

What: A Dutch coffee brand decided to hold a sliiiiightly different kind of focus group. They were all stoned.
Who: 180 Amsterdam, Moyee
Why We Care: First, the project illustrates the often ridiculous results of focus-group research. Second, rambling stoned people describing how coffee tastes can be hilarious. Third, every junk-food brand should think about this idea.

OK Go “Red Star Macalline”

What: The viral video factory known as OK Go adapted a visual concept from one of their previous videos and added a remix of another song to create an original ad for a Chinese furniture brand.
Who: OK Go, Red Star Macalline
Why We Care: They could’ve just cashed in on an easy remake, but instead the band took its typically crazy creative approach to make something completely new. Also, it seems like at least one of them learned Mandarin.

Carl’s Jr. “Thickburger El Diablo”

What: A burger with sliced jalapeños, crunchy jalapeño poppers, spicy habanero bacon sauce, and pepper-jack cheese between its buns, created with ad agency 72andSunny.
Who: CKE Restaurants, 72andSunny
Why We Care: A spicy example of the delicious potential of a collaborative creative relationship between agencies and clients. Plus, seriously, jalapeño poppers on the burger? Wizardry.

About the author

Jeff Beer is a staff editor at Fast Company, covering advertising, marketing, and brand creativity.