Ad of the Day: An Esteemed Literary Critic Reviews the Ikea Catalog

Putting furniture through the lens of Goethe and Freud

It has the world's largest print run: a staggering 220 million copies. And yet no literary critics have deemed it worthy of their commentary.

Until now.

German literary critic Hellmuth Karasek lowers himself to reading an Ikea catalog in a clip hosted by the mega-retailer's Swiss channel on YouTube.

Admittedly, it's a bit of a slog getting through the first three minutes, but once you settle into the right headspace, there's actually quite a bit to enjoy here. He references Freud and Goethe, and if he's being ironic, he's playing it so subtly you might be forgiven for taking it as an earnest review.

While he finds the catalog's cheery phrasing to be a bit too "idyllic" for his tastes and says its glorification of snuggling in bed make it "very tempting to put this book away," Karasek admits he doesn't fault anyone who takes joy in such comfort-driven consumerism.

I don't think I'm spoiling anything by telling you that he ultimately doesn't think it's fair to compare a catalog to a literary novel, since one is purely utilitarian and the other is an artful exploration of what it is to be human. But if you like waiting too long for a foregone conclusion, this video is your Huckleberry.

Via Ads of the World.


Advertising Agency: Wirz Werbung, Zürich, Switzerland

Executive Creative Directors: Livio Dainese, Fernando Perez

Creative Directors: Caspar Heuss, Michael Schmidt

Art Director: Luca Schneider

Copywriter: Wolfgang Bark

Production Company: Big Fish David Kiefaber is a frequent contributor to Adweek's creativity blog, AdFreak.