Ikea Canada, a Champion of Reusing Old Items, Creates Heartwarming ‘Stuff Monster’

Instead of destruction, it leaves a trail of new life for furnishings

a monster made from used furniture walks down the street
The Stuff Monster might conjure images of a junk overload, but in this case it's a benevolent force for the whole neighborhood. Ikea Canada
Headshot of David Griner

Last year, Ikea Canada took the bold marketing move of creating a sequel to the global retailer’s most famous ad: Lamp. While the 2002 original encouraged you to cast off your emotional bonds with broken furniture and toss it to the curb, the 2018 spot instead celebrated to finding new life for a once-beloved item.

“Lamp 2” was Ikea Canada’s way of planting a flag about its belief in reuse as a key aspect of sustainable commerce. And now, proving the ad wasn’t a one-off message, the brand and creative agency Rethink are back with a new spot on the theme: “Stuff Monster.”

In this fantastical and fun ad, a towering beast made of used belongings trods through a neighborhood, occasionally dropping off pieces of himself to those who’d like to give them a new home:

The spot is beautifully set to Cat Stevens’ “Tea for the Tillerman” and stays true to Ikea’s ad style of superimposing product names and prices in only one way: highlighting the retailer’s $1 reusable bag.

The focus on reuse certainly isn’t limited to the brand’s advertising. Over the past year, Ikea Canada implemented a “circular sell-back” program that encourages customers to bring in gently used Ikea items and exchange them for store credit. The items are then either repurposed or resold by the stores. More than 23,000 submissions have already come in via the program, according to the company.

Ikea aims to become a “fully circular business” by 2030, which covers a wide range of priorities. While it includes designing all products with repair, recycling and reuse in mind, the initiative also aims to use sustainable and recycled materials, extend the life expectancy of Ikea items, and eliminate waste.

Here’s a look back at 2002’s Lamp (from Crispin Porter + Bogusky and director Spike Jonze) and Ikea Canada’s 2018 sequel, followed by credits for the new spot.


Client: Ikea Canada

Agency: Rethink
Executive Creative Director: Aaron Starkman, Christina Yu, Chris Staples, Ian Grais
Creative Director: Joel Holtby, Dhaval Bhatt
Art Director: Joel Holtby
Writer: Dhaval Bhatt
Director of Client Services: Marie Lunny
Account Director: Sarah Riedlinger
Account Manager: Daniel Riggi
Managing Director, Strategy: Sean McDonald
Strategy Director: Stacy Ross
Producer: Erica Metcalfe

Client: Ikea Canada
Director of Marketing: Lena Dukic
Marketing Communications Specialist: Jordan Sequeira
Client Email/Phone: jordan.sequeira@ikea.com / 647 746-4611

Live Action
Production Company: Scouts Honour
Director: Mark Zibert
Director of Photography: Christopher Mably
Live Action Producer: Rita Popielak
Production Supervisor: Simon Dragland

VFX Studio: A52
VFX Supervisor: Jesse Monsour
CG Supervisor: Andy Wilkoff
2D VFX Artist(s): Jesse Monsour, Richard Hirst, Hugh Seville, Narbeh Mardirossian
3D Artists: Adam Rosenzwieg, Alejandro Castro, Andy Wilkoff, Daniel Jensen, Dustin Mellum,
Evan Mayfield, Ian Ruhfass, Joe Chiechi, Joe Paniagua, John Riggs, Josh Dyer, Max Ulichney,
Michale Bettinardi, Michael Cardenas, Mike Di Nocco, Suzi Little
Online Editor: Chris Riley
Producer: Scott Boyajan
Executive Producers: Patrick Nugent & Kim Christensen
Managing Director: Jennifer Sofio Hall

Colorist: Eric Whipp (first pass) & Conor Fisher (final pass)
Color Assistant: Jonah Venneri
Senior Color Producer: Jane GarrahEditorial Company: Rooster Post
Editor: Marc Langley
Assistant Editor: Chloe Vankoughnett
Executive Producer: Melissa Kahn

Composer: Cat Stevens, “Tea for the Tillerman”
Sound Design: Kevin Chamberlain
Final Mix/Engineer: Julian Rudd
Managing Partner: Lindsey Bates
Creative Director: Ted Rosnick

@griner david.griner@adweek.com David Griner is creative and innovation editor at Adweek and host of Adweek's podcast, "Yeah, That's Probably an Ad."