IKEA Starts “The Year of Yes” in Australia, Sparks Fury among Thai Transsexuals with a New Ad

IKEA Australia builds its new campaign on the “always say yes” philosophy. The retailer is encouraging Aussies to adopt a positive attitude for the year of 2013 (at least) and just let good things enter their lives. The new campaign, developed by The Monkeys, Sydney (the agency behind the hilarious “Have a Gö” promotion), is already launching on TV and in digital (including the heavy presence on the brand’s official Facebook page throughout the year).

It’s 2013. The year of yes. A year to nod our heads with conviction to plans and ideas. To be open to opportunities and possibilities. And most of all to finish what we start so that we can look ourselves in the mirror come December and say, ‘Yes, that was a good year!’,” says the brand. The centerpiece of the campaign, a 30-second TVC, features people and a positive dog named Humphrey, who are always nodding to everything (especially, IKEA’s furniture). “’The Year of Yes’ is about taking action and fulfilling those projects around your home that you start the year hoping to do,” said Rebecca Darley, IKEA Country Marketing Manager. “IKEA aims to inspire and encourage our customers to keep an open mind, try new things in their home and make this the year they turn their goals and aspirations into reality.”

Still, in some other countries IKEA is revoking not that positive emotions with its advertising. For instance, in Thailand the retailer has been accused of mocking transgender individuals in the new advert. In the new controversial spot, a female suddenly starts to speak with a very deep male-like voice, making her companion (apparently, a boyfriend), who is standing next to her, really shocked. Watch the ad below. The new spot, which was released just a few months after the scandal surrounding the de-womanised IKEA’s Saudi Catalog, generated much negative feedback from local transsexuals, who describe it as “negative and stereotypical in nature” and want IKEA to apologize for this act of intolerance.