Analysis of Ikea’s "Lamp 2" Commercial

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Ikea’s “Lamp 2” commercial displays various social ideologies through the touching story of a young girl and a discarded desk lamp that she discovers on the side of the road. The 2018 production utilizes stunning visuals and coherent storytelling tactics to drive audience sympathies towards an inanimate object, and in turn, the messages of the advertisement. “Lamp 2” is a sequel to an older advertisement from 2002, which illustrates the origins of the red lamp. The circular connection of “Lamp 2” to “Lamp” heavily emphasizes the ideologies of environmental sustainability and consumerism. “Lamp 2” stands on its own to promote social ideologies of a traditional gender-specific childhood.

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Interpellation definition – how Ikea addresses audience

The first “Lamp” commercial debuted in 2002 and was directed by Spike Jonze. In the opening scene, a deep, melancholy tune performed by a piano plays as a woman unplugs her bright red desk lamp, carries it over her shoulder and plops it down onto the sidewalk for garbage collection. It shakes in the wind before the scene shifts to night and it downpours onto the lamp. The camera points up at the apartment window and shows the woman sitting down beside her brand new lamp, creating an air of rejection as the red lamp has been replaced for something newer. The camera finally shifts back outside to the scrapped lamp and actor Jonas Fornander enters for the closing scene of the advertisement.

Fornander, soaked by the rain, stares down at the camera and criticizes the audience for feeling sad for the lamp, as it is inanimate and the newer model is better. The audience is left grasping for a more sound solution to the problem of wastefulness than what is displayed in the commercial; it concludes sixteen years later in “Lamp 2”, where the lamp is officially revitalized.“Lamp 2”, directed by Mark Zibert, continues right where “Lamp” left off, along the exact same dark, rainy curb where the red lamp was dumped. Following the storm, a young girl with a wagon passes the lamp and stops. The lamp is personified as she cranes its shade up towards her eyes, since it resembles someone tilting a person’s chin up to meet their gaze. The lamp is rescued and comfortably rattles along in the girl’s wagon just as the garbage men are hauling trash away. She brings it home and installs an environmentally friendly RYET LED light bulb into the lamp. The lamp is the source of light for many touching moments throughout the girl’s childhood, including homework, sleepovers with friends, a tea party with stuffed animals, and reading with her mother.

Similar to the first commercial, “Lamp 2” has a closing scene that looks upwards at a window from the rainy street. The red lamp is observed inside of the window and is seen as now having a purpose, instead of being cast away on the street as it was in “Lamp”. The commercial ends once again with Jonas Fornander, though he speaks in a less critical tone and says that the audience is not crazy for feeling happy for the lamp; reusing things is better. “Lamp 2” displays several prominent ideologies, but the concluding statement about reusing things plays a major role within its overall message.

The primary ideology that is expressed in “Lamp 2” is the conscious attempt to be environmentally sustainable, in contrast with what is depicted in “Lamp”. Lee (2012) analyzes neo-Marxist definitions of ideology as the creation of ideas and values within various institutions, such as school, art, media and prisons. The constant circulation of the ideas makes the ideologies appear to be common knowledge (Lee, 2012). Thus, Ikea produces messages within its advertisements that should come across as common knowledge: you should attempt to be kind to the environment and you can do that by repurposing items. Ikea encourages viewers to be environmentally friendly like the little girl in “Lamp 2” and less wasteful than the woman in “Lamp”. The original owner of the lamp is portrayed to be extravagant when she replaces a functioning lamp with something more stylish. Instead of donating the lamp to a charity, thrift store or even holding a yard sale, the woman dumps the lamp on the sidewalk. Audience members become frustrated with the woman because the lamp was abandoned for superficial purposes and was not donated to someone who could have used it.

“Lamp 2” brings forth a resolution when the little girl removes it from the curb and takes it home with her. She not only repurposes it but also inserts a light bulb that is energy efficient, long lasting and low in greenhouse gas emissions. The light bulb and repurposing of the lamp correlate to Ikea’s “People and Planet” campaign, the focus of which is to produce products that are long lasting and made of recycled products.

Ikea also expresses interest in repurposement “programs that allow products to have a second-life”. The little girl clearly repurposes the lamp, but theoretically speaking, it was outside in the rain for sixteen years and worked perfectly, highlighting Ikea’s motivations of sustainability for their products. Ikea not only reduces harm upon the environment but motivates the audience to want to be green and purchase their products.

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