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How Koala used IKEA to Build a Dreamy Marketing Strategy

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QUICK! Place a glass of wine on this mattress and jump on it!

No spillage?! What sorcery is this?!

When Koala released their marketing creative upon their debut, it was nothing short of jaw-dropping. This was where the magic happened. Not the kind of magic that usually happens on mattresses, but marketing magic that stirred excitement in a mundane product most of us have but take for granted.

Fast forward to 2019 and the enchantment lives on.

While driving down Tempe, Sydney’s drivers were confronted by what looked like an IKEA ad for the outlet just up the road. Upon second glance, drivers realised that nothing was as it seemed, and that this was actually a Koala ad poking fun at Ikea’s notoriously difficult assembly processes, often leaving customers with ‘NOFNIDEA’ on how to get the furniture built. Here’s the tickling ad for your perusal.

Koala billboard Sydney

Not only was this a clever move on the brand’s part, but they took their savage onslaught one step further with another billboard in response to their first one!

It reads….

Koala billboard ad


So how come Koala is bringing excitement back into mattresses while their contemporaries are just managing to not fall into obscurity? Here’s our breakdown.

Their Marketing is Audience Driven

Koala is proudly Australian made and so is their marketing team, which means that all their ads showcase the same sense of humour Australians know and love. There’s plenty of references to local culture and idiosyncrasies, making each ad quintessentially Aussie.

With that in mind, we see can see just how refined their strategy is. Not only are their ads funny but they’re also directed at their target market. Young professional Australians after affordable bedding solutions that are an excellent long-term investment (and who’d probably find their stuff funny). These millennials would most likely have experienced the torment of putting IKEA furniture together upon leaving home, so they’d definitely appreciate Koala’s ads.

Koala also knows where these young professionals are probably hanging out, be it online or on the road to the CBD. They’re creative was initially only exhibited on social channels such as Youtube and Instagram before their billboard debut. These channels are known for their younger audiences, while Facebook Advertising showed less of a presence.  With a carefully thought out strategy which likely included the creation of a buyer persona, Koala was able to get more bang for their social buck by using the right channels to spread their marsupial gospel.

They Take Risks

Now, with Youtube and the prevalence of social media marketing in mind, it would seem that traditional marketing techniques would be redundant in making your presence known. In fact, it may not even seem cost effective seeing as hardly anyone is willing to pay the price tag for a television ad or the bill of a billboard. Koala’s marketing director, Tom Doyle however, commented that the brands foray into traditional ads is an attempt to circulate buzz online as well. Bringing their strategy full circle.

Doyle stated that Koala’s efforts have produced thousands of consumer comments online and increased their social engagement. They’ve been tagged in a plethora of posts too.

“I think the total reach for our billboard related posts online is over 10M people,” he concludes.

With a rounded vision and strategy that covers all the right bases, Koala’s plan has seen their investments interweave to create a digital/traditional strategy that is completely in-sync. A risk that’s helped them get paid in full. 

They Don’t Know When to Stop

Lastly, Koala is still serving up brutal ads on the reg.

There’s nothing more Aussie than some witty irreverence and it’s on full display with Koala’s creative. These guys aren’t one hit wonders. They’ve created a variety ads that show off their repartee and full know-how of Australian savagery, in all its glory.

Not only have they taken a stab at IKEA but they’ve also parodied furniture brand De Rucci, an Aussie brand whose ads look like a waking nightmare. Here’s the original alongside the Koala redux.

Banner for furniture brand De Rucci

Koala marketing display

Nothing is sacred. They’ve also taken a stab at political leader’s Clive Palmer’s ads which look like they’ve been made in Microsoft paint. With the Koala twist, we’d say it’s quite the improvement ironically. Have a gander.

Palmer billboard

Koala billboard advert Melbourne

Lastly, let’s not forget those hideous erectile dysfunction ads that would kill any….well, you know. Once again, Koala swoops in like a rabid marsupial and claws away at the competition, leaving their mark of wit, humour and damn good marketing. 

Marketing banner Koala.com

Key Takeaways:

There are plenty of things that you can take away from Koala’s stellar marketing plan, all of which have already helped the brand become a household name despite its short tenure on the scene.

One is that it’s absolutely crucial to be fully aware of your target demographic. Be sure to find out where their usual haunts are (online or not) and research their behaviours. The type of humour engaged in these ads show just how far Koala has gone into ensuring that their ads are hitting the money every time their target segment views them.

They’ve also been bold in their ad creative and placement. While comedy is something that can be very hit or miss, fortune still favours the bold and Koala is now reaping the rewards of their courage and creativity.

With so much to learn from their marketing efforts in the last year alone, be sure to keep your eye out for this ground-breaking business as they’re sure to cause a stir this year and beyond.

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