2016 Asia-Pacific Stevie Awards Gold Winner - MSLGROUP China

Gold Stevie Award Winner 2016, Click to Enter The 2017 American Business Awards

Company: MSLGROUP China, Shanghai, China

Category: Award for Innovation in Brand Development

Entry Title: IKEA cooks its way into Chinese hearts: It’s the Little Things that Matter



IKEA strives to make everyday better for people and for the 2016 fiscal year it focused marketing and communications efforts on the home kitchen. Chinese people are fiercely proud of their cookery, however, and Western kitchen designs don’t always live up to Chinese cooking practices. Can the Swedish company instruct a food-proud nation to eat and cook better?


• Galvanize IKEA’s image as the Life Improvement Store
• Stimulate interest for kitchen gear by way of in-store traffic and purchases


Our target audience are primarily middle-class urban Chinese households. They are educated, look outward for inspiration and eager to improve themselves. They are tech-savvy and fashion- conscious yet enjoy a good bargain. Many are first-time home owners who are seeking to furnish their new homes or those who are re-decorating existing homes.

To better understand Chinese households, we conducted a national study of how people eat and use their kitchens, delving deeply into their views on cooking and dining and capturing their frustrations, concerns, desires and aspirations. Our research revealed that cooking and dining have become an important way to entertain for many Chinese: they experience joy and happiness through cooking and eating at home. These little, yet important, activities help urbanites find a release from the pressures of city living.

With this insight we positioned IKEA creates better everyday living by fostering the joy and satisfaction that comes with eating and making food at home. We created a themed campaign – It’s the Little Things That Matter – to integrate marketing, digital/social media and communications for the year. At the heart of the campaign was our Cook for Love consumer program, where we invited consumers to express their love through the intimate act of cooking and filmed their stories to amplify messages online.


A. Produce the China Life at Home Report and launch findings at a large-scale media event

1. Interviewed 6-8 families in Shanghai, Beijing, Shenyang and Wuhan and conducted home visits. Created an online questionnaire and collected 1,500 responses from the Web. Mined social media conversations on popular channels and platforms for hot topics and trends. These findings were summarized into a report with key points designed into an eye-catching infographic.
2. Constructed an experiential showroom environment displaying simple living solutions at a national press event for 300 media representatives from 15 cities.

B. Adopt O2O for live kitchen experience

1. Set up a live kitchen in an easily accessible spot in downtown Shanghai for locals to try out the new products and solutions. Those passing by were invited into the kitchen, peek inside cupboards, sit down for a cup of tea, and generally make themselves at home.
2. Invited KOLs from popular social media accounts to use our kitchen. Fans were recruited to join cooking classes led by KOLs, which were filmed and shared widely across social media.
3. Partnered with fashion magazine GRAZIA for a Singles Day (11/11) consumer event at our kitchen, which was filmed and posted on social media.

C. Cook for Love short films

1. Crowdsourced personal stories through IKEA’s official WeChat account and received 618 submissions within 2 weeks
2. Shortlisted 8 stories and invited families to cook in our live kitchen
3. Filmed their cooking and shared videos widely on digital channels


At the end of the four-month integrated consumer campaign,
• Revenues of IKEA’s kitchen range shot up 34% for the period, up 20% YOY
• Business volume for the entire kitchen business increased 26%, up 13% YOY
• IKEA store traffic up 24%, up 13% YOY
• Created 8 videos that got over 1.9 million views
• Achieved 26.7+ million social media impressions and over 11,300 interactions with fans • Generated 974 clippings worth excess 18.8 million RMB

Supporting Materials:

Ikea Cooks its Way Into Chinese Hearts Video

Cook for Love

Eating Together