Finding joy in a joyless economy

DSC00111 Yesterday, I offered a couple of thoughts on what consumers do in a recession.  They cease surging, I argued, and started dwelling.  By "dwelling" I mean the metaphor, not the literal activity. 

But in fact the pun is apt.  When consumers slow down and begin to concentrate on the here and now, the what and the where of their activity is often the home. Dwelling is what consumers do instead of buying. 

And in a sense this reverses the Scitovsky effect.  You will remember Scitovsky's book The Joyless Economy and his argument that the trouble with a consumer society is that the pleasure of ownership soon degrades into mere comfort.  It's not long before we  take our new possessions for granted. 

What the consumer does in a down economy is roll back the Scitovsky effect.  We begin to treasure things.  We re-engineer the comfort to get back to pleasure.  We begin to savor things again.

One of the things we especially savor is the home.  Home, and hearth and heart, this becomes the new geographical center of our lives. 

Some brands have always taken an interest in home.  Ikea is one of these.  Here's a lovely little ad that captures the tone of dwelling creativity and it may well work a path for future marketing.

References Scitovsky, Tibor.  1976.  The Joyless Economy.  New York: Basic Books

See the Ikea campaign here.

For another Ikea campaign, see a brilliant piece of work by Max Hattler for Beattie McGuinness Bungay here.  (The homeyness offers up lots of creative options.)


Thanks to Katie Rook again for the conversation in which the aptness Scitovsky notion occurred to me and to Edward Cotton for telling me about the Ikea campaign.

Credits for the second spot Director – Max Hattler Client – IKEA Production Company – Bermuda Shorts Producer – Lisa Hill Agency – Beattie McGuinness Bungay Creatives – Trevor Beattie & Simon Bere Agency Producer – Jane Oak

1 thought on “Finding joy in a joyless economy

  1. Peter

    Ikea has benefited from good timing. Their “home” campaign has been running for the better part of a year, and certainly was in the planning stage for some time before its rollout, in other words since well before the economic downturn really hit.

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