Parents Will Love This Sweet, Heartbreaking Ikea Ad With a Kid Picking Out Furniture

Time flies when you're furnishing your life

Headshot of Angela Natividad

The first trip a person makes to Ikea is often with his or her parents. Buzzman Paris brings that bittersweet visit to life in "My Son," an ad that opens on a mom strolling the store with a boy who can't be more than 10 years old. 

For someone so young, the kid proves oddly precocious. He makes a beeline for a kitchen island, admiring the surface material. He lauds the practicality of slide-out drawers, and measures furniture while his mother wistfully observes. 

It's pretty clear where this is going, but it's still sad to watch.

Between friends, we like to joke about how our parents still see us as children, even though we increasingly see them as children themselves. Back home, I engage in heated arguments with my dad about whether it was smart for him to buy a boat he can't pilot. I shout about responsibility while he sputters and sulks in this reversal of roles … but when I go to bed, he'll still sneak in to plug in a night light. 

It's difficult to imagine how this transition from child to adult happens for the people who raise us, but it plays out beautifully here: There's the moment when the son has an Ikea employee enter his own name into her database, and even flirts with her a little. When the time comes to pay, he puts a hand over his mother's wallet and tells her he's fine. 

He loads the truck on his own, then climbs into the driver's seat. As his mother gazes lovingly at him, the boy transforms into the twentysomething he actually is, before reminding her, "I'm only moving around the corner." 

The spot concludes, "If only we could keep some things small forever," before inevitably reminding us of its commercial interests: "At Ikea, prices remain small all year." But that pitch is beside the point. The real message is about Ikea's role in a rite of passage that's as meaningful for the parent as it is for the progeny. 

This isn't new ground in advertising. Subaru's touching "Baby Driver" ad from 2011 explored the moment a dad first passes the car keys to his daughter, who appears as a squirmy little kid playing with the seatbelt before transforming into a perfectly capable teen. That ad, which was an Emmy nominee, was faster-moving and more stoic, but it conveyed the same flying-the-coop pathos that you find here. 

It's an old story, but it still grabs heartstrings. As we race eagerly toward adulthood, parents mourn the loss of our dependence. We grow older and forget we were ever so needful as we establish careers, make families and grow busy. But for the people who raised us, we remain the tiny people who grabbed their hands when crossing the street. It's perhaps crucial for them to believe we'll always need them this way. 

This is why, well into our 30s, we say nothing when our dads plug in the night light … even though, truth be told, we haven't been afraid of the dark in over two decades.


Client: Ikea France

Country Marketing Director : Stépanie Jourdan

External Communication Manager : Carole Feleppa

House-Design Consultant: Karin Aubertin

Agency: Buzzman

President and Creative Director:

Georges Mohammed-Cherif

Vice-President : Thomas Granger

Associate Director : Julien Levilain

Artistic Director: Philippe Boucheron

Copywriter : Patrice Lucet

Account Managers : Liliane Richard, Émilie Pellicer

Head of TV Production : Vanessa Barbel

Strategic Planner : Clément Scherrer

TV Production : Katya Violi

Director : Didier Barcelo

Production: Henry

Sound Production : Schmooze

Head of Communication and P.R.: Amélie Juillet

Communication and P.R. Manager : Clara Bascoul-Gauthier

@luckthelady Angela Natividad is a frequent contributor to Adweek's creativity blog, AdFreak. She is also the author of Generation Creation and co-founder of Hurrah, an esports agency. She lives in Paris and when she isn't writing, she can be found picking food off your plate.
Publish date: September 26, 2016 © 2020 Adweek, LLC. - All Rights Reserved and NOT FOR REPRINT