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Ikea faces backlash for Pride-themed love seat that reads ‘nobody believes you’

It’s part of a larger campaign with designs representing different sexual identities.

Ikea faces backlash for Pride-themed love seat that reads ‘nobody believes you’
[Photos: Ikea]
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In 1994, Ikea made one of the first mainstream TV commercials featuring a gay couple, if not the first. Now, 27 years later, the brand is definitely the first to create a line of 10 sofas with designs inspired by various LGBTQ+ flags.

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One of the sofas is drawing enthusiastic, if not entirely positive, reactions online, and was even trending on Twitter Tuesday. The sofa, based on the bisexual flag, is covered in hands and arm prints, and has cushions that read, “When you change Or to And, nobody believes you.” Here’s what some people on Twitter had to say about it:

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Ikea Canada says the design, by Charlotte Carbone, is inspired by a poem written by Brian Lanigan when he was 15 years old about his experience being bisexual. (Lanigan has since taken to Twitter to explain his poem.) “We wanted to do something that highlighted the diversity within the 2SLGBTQ+ community because there are so many identities that aren’t given as much space or attention during Pride, especially during COVID-19,” says Claudia Mayne, Ikea Canada marketing communications director, in an email.

The love seat is part of a broader campaign created with Canadian ad agency Rethink, illustrator and muralist Madison Van Rijn and fashion designers Carbone, Ali Haider, and Bianca Daniela Nachtman. Each love seat in the campaign is designed to represent specific sexual identities, such as asexual, bisexual, lesbian, nonbinary, pansexual, and transgender. For each design, the brand made spots featuring people talking about themselves, their story, and their identity.

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While not universally loved, the designs are consistent with Ikea’s legacy of creatively interpreting the zeitgeist, from Game of Thrones rugs to photographing its products in trash heaps to promote secondhand buying.

Plus, it’s not like it’s the first Ikea couch people have called ugly.

Check out the rest of the “Love Seats” videos below:

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About the author

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

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