When I first moved to Washington, DC in 1988, IKEA ads touting their high product-testing standards were on TV a lot. My roommate and I loved one with a scientist jumping up and down on a bed chanting, “You’re gonna get hurt! You’re gonna get hurt! You’re gonna get hurt!”

That’s how I remembered it, anyway. We especially loved that ad after we’d been drinking all night at Ireland’s Four Provinces (aka The 4Ps) so, um, do with that what you will.

Over the years, I’ve quizzed marketing experts about this ad campaign. I’ve made phone calls. I’ve searched for this ad on youtube. All to no avail. Samer almost had me convinced that I’d imagined it. Almost.

Recently, I began to wonder if I was perhaps remembering the ads themselves properly, but had the company wrong. I commenced googling, and the first hit led me to a detailed dissection of the whole campaign!

It was real! And it was an IKEA campaign! And it was, indeed, almost exactly as I remembered it!

Thank you so much, Adland! There’s no video, but the picture pretty much says it all, and they break down the ad.

TITLE CARD: IKEA LOGO VO ANNCR: Ikea, Swedish for common sense.

In the closing scene, the male tester is jumping up and down on a bed. …Like a kid.
FEMALE TESTER: You’re gonna get hurt.
FEMALE TESTER: You’re gonna get hurt.
FEMALE TESTER: You’re gonna get hurt.

The post is a discussion of a number of ad campaigns and I’m not familiar with, but the IKEA part vindicates my memory. Lots of Gen X creatives read this site, though, so some of you will probably find it interesting if you remember this ad, or some later ads for other companies that were apparently suspiciously similar.

I loved this note at the bottom of the post, a 2005 update to the 1998 post:

A visitor lets us know that IKEA tv spot in the Badland section was definitely done at Goldberg Marchdesano in D.C. Joe Moscati was the Art Director…he was at the One Show to accept award on behalf of Goldberg, and has the pencil with his name on it to prove it. Wow, this makes the ‘original’ ad an olden goldie, 1988 is a long time ago for a commercial.

I’m glad the website broke down all of the ads in the campaign – they were all funny.

I uploaded their image and put it at the top of this post because this post has been in my draft file for a while and I’ve had trouble loading the adland page a few times and I’m afraid they might disappear. I’m going to drop them a line to make sure it’s okay I’m using it. And to thank them for documenting this ad campaign!

I’d just like a spleen, please.

I was sending an artist friend a facebook message and I looked at the ads on the page – something I rarely do. I found the top one creepy and weird enough that I had to share it, although between the time I captured the image and the time it took me to post it I forgot the hilarious joke that popped into my head when I first saw it. Trust me, it was brilliant.

I was replying to a message from an artist-friend who lives downtown, so 2 out of 3 appropriate ads isn’t bad but that top one misses the mark by so far it’s a bit confounding. And, of course, hilarious, even if I can’t remember exactly why.

I’m fairly conversant in mid-Twentieth Century advertising and popular culture, but there’s always so much more to learn!

According to the Museum of Broadcast Communications The Flintstones started out as a Primetime show, it wasn’t considered “children’s programming” when it debuted. Even knowing that, this weirded me out:

The Flintstones sell us Winston Cigarettes.

Also on the Museum of Broadcast Communications site was this tidbit, doubly interesting in this context:

The Flintstones also launched a multi-million dollar merchandising business with hundreds of toys and novelties placed on the market. Perhaps the most enduring product developed in this ancillary line was Flintstones vitamins, also used as a sponsor for the program. Citing the difficulties children might have in distinguishing cartoon characters from the products made in their likenesses, critics attacked the practice of advertising vitamins to children, and such ads were withdrawn in 1972.

Granted, they dumped Winston as a sponsor long before the vitamins fracas, but in hindsight it just seems so quaint that marketing vitamins to kids would be threatening (not that I disagree).

(youtube link via digg)

I don’t even know why this was buried in my subconscious, but yesterday I was with some friends and the memory of a failed McDonald’s campaign popped into my head. Remember the whole Arch Deluxe/McLean fiasco? This was where they tried to rebrand Ronald as a cool grownup and ended up portraying him like a creepy uncle you wouldn’t want to leave the kids with. That’s not the troubling memory that popped into my head, though.

No, I was remembering that they also tried to engineer a dance craze. I really hoped it was my imagination playing tricks on me. At first, anyway. Then it occurred to me that this was a bizarre thing to imagine. You can imagine my combined relief and dismay when I discovered it was real.

According to a September 26, 1996 press release:

New McDonald’s Product Roll-Out

McDonald’s is rolling out 3 new products on Sept 26 at noon Pacific time, 9am EST. It is not clear how extensive this hoopla is, but it appears to be another nationwide event, at least in major cities, with a live satellite feed from Chicago headquarters being sent to the local sites. To find out if there is an event in your area, call a local McD. The local paper paper may have gotten a press release about it if they remember it. What follows is a surreal promotional letter that was sent to newspapers in the San Diego USA area by a regional McD office.

McDonald’s Corporation
4370 La Jolla Village Dr SW 800
San Diego CA 92122
Dear (Newspaper editor):

On Sept 26, McDonald’s will make an important announcement that just may have adults across America singing and dancing and we would like you to be among the first to know why.

What, you ask, could McDonald’s say that will make you sing and dance? The answer is the nationwide simultaneous launch of 3 new “Deluxe” sandwiches – all of which, along with the recently introduced Arch Deluxe – comprise McDonald’s new Deluxe Menu.

Imagine larger, tastier, deluxe versions of McDonald’s flagship products – the McChicken, Grilled Chicken, and Fillet-o-Fish sandwiches.

Not singing and dancing yet? You will. Be the first to see the hot, new dance craze soon to hit the streets, clubs and parties of America – the Deluxe Line Dance.

It’s not the Macarena or the Electric Slide. It’s McDonald’s own contemporary fandango, created by world renowned coreographer Debbie Allen (from the movie Fame), to get people grooving to the new Deluxe line Menu at McDonald’s.

The Deluxe Line Dance will be performed by a chorus of San Diego Charger Girls, Mesa College Dancers, and of course Ronald McDonald to a new “living” jingle as memorable as the famed “Two all beef patties, special…” I bet you can finish the rest (Don’t look now but you’re probably singing)

Please accept our invitation.

* Be our guest for an elegant, gourmet mcDonald’s lunch that you’ll have to dee and taste to believe.
* Be the first to see The Deluxe Line Dance and hear mcDonald’s new jingle.
* Watch the stellite feed of McDonald’s national launch event in Chicago including a performance by the Village People on the IU-Jumbotron screen.
* Talk with McDonald’s owner/operators about McDonald’s continued commitment to adult taste preferences and serving delicious, quality food.
The event will take place Thursday Sept 26 from noon to 1:15pm at the Incredible Universe located at 98 Stonecrest Blbd at I-15 and Aero Drive San Diego, Please RSVP to Laura Janikas at 296-0605 by 5 pm Thursday Sept 20


Miguel Mendez’s Dance Academy of Salsa notes that n September, 1996, Miguel was contracted by McDonald’s Hispanic advertising and promotional agency to learn, teach, and perform, the McDonald’s Arch Deluxe line dance, to promote the new line of McDonalds Deluxe sandwiches.