Ladies and gents, don't whiz past IKEA's newest print ad. It offers cribs at a discount — provided you're willing to pee directly on it to prove you're expecting a child. On Tuesday, Adweek reported that the Swedish furniture company, beloved by college students and lazy people on a budget across the world, has released an advertisement that doubles as a pregnancy test. If you're pregnant and have no qualms handing a piece of magazine paper drenched with your own urine to a cashier who certainly doesn't get paid enough to deal with this nonsense, major savings are just a glass of water away.
According to Adweek, the splashy advertisement is running in Amelia, a Swedish women's magazine. It was thought up by Åkestam Holst, an ad agency (also based in Sweden) that was responsible for past heartwarming IKEA commercials about unexpected topics like divorce and adoption. Working with Mercene Labs, they created an ad that includes an at-home pregnancy test at the bottom of the page. The test strip reacts to hCG, a hormone associated with pregnancy, so when a pregnant person urinates on it, it reveals a special discounted price for IKEA's Sundvick baby crib.
"IKEA creates products for your everyday life," explains a video about the ad. "For every life situation. This ad is all about that."
The idea is, in a word, icky, but Åkestam Holst has pointed out that the ad required scientists to come up with new technology that can be applied to the world outside of glossy magazine pages. "Technical advancements made during the work with this campaign have the potential to improve medical diagnostics," the agency told Adweek in a statement.
That doesn't change the fact that the ad essentially requires women to prove that they are pregnant to get the discount — something that pissed off some people.
"What if, instead of asking pregnant customers to urinate on an advertisement and carry the flyer into a mega-store for verification by a poor sales rep, we just believed women who say they are pregnant?" asked a reporter for Splinter.
One Twitter user echoed similar problems with the ad. "I mean it's a terrible idea for 46435375765 reasons but also I guess you only get a discount if you can carry a bio child and sooooooooo it might be fun to find out if it's even legal, just to literally piss off the white bros who thought this was a cool idea," she tweeted. In a separate tweet, she also wondered if some women might discover they had had a miscarriage if their hCG levels weren't high enough to register on the ad's pregnancy test.
Other people were simply disgusted.
As you might expect, someone jumped in with a pun: "Grøspëë."
Think of the poor cashiers who will have pee-soaked advertisements thrust at them in the checkout line. If it's gross for you to think about carrying around a used pregnancy test, imagine having to accept one from a total stranger. No retail job should require that of their employees.
On the other hand, the basic purpose of marketing is to be the loudest kid in the classroom, and currently, IKEA's ad is all anyone wants to talk about in the advertising world.
Believe it or not, this isn't the first time advertisers have used pee to market a brand. As Adweek noted, in 2001, Animal Planet placed urine-scented ads for a dog award show at the bottom of lampposts to attract dogs and, by extension, their owners.
IKEA's advertisement might be a bit bizarre, but there have been weirder ads in the past. And hey! IKEA is essentially giving out free pregnancy tests in the pages of a magazine. If you subscribe to Amelia and think you might be pregnant, urine luck.