Our MD over here at Live & Breathe has a really uncomfortable sofa. We all know this, not because we’ve traipsed through his house testing his furniture, but because we’re subjected to his rambling complaints about just how terrible his sofa really is on a regular basis. And while we use it to mostly tease him about having to sit on the floor in his own home because the sofa is that bad, it was also the subject of the office debate this week. By debate, we obviously mean that time someone was struggling through hump day and started a random conversation that everyone then pitched in, which then turned into a huge argument and a lot of shouting before we all agreed it was the end of the day and we should go to the pub (you know how it goes).
But our noisy shouting over one another did reveal one thing; a unanimous agreement that over the years, we’ve seen our clients favour design over comfort and ease. Back in the day quality came first, followed by comfort, price and then design. But the rise of companies like Apple and a cultural fascination for cool tech products has pushed design to the top of the list, often at the expense of comfort. Which is exactly why our MD has an incredible looking sofa, that is an absolute pain, quite literally, to sit on.
We all want cool products that look amazing, and because we throw away our products more and more, comfort isn’t such a big deal anymore. Once upon a time you’d buy a sofa or mattress every ten years, if that. Now we’re swapping out our furniture every six years and considering it a good run. And while initially that might look like a good deal for brands, being known for discomfort is never a good thing and over time it will be detrimental to a business.
And the solution here isn’t that brands need to choose design or comfort, because the truth is they can both exit and ad agencies can help that happen. Discussing their latest campaign IKEA’s UK marketing boss Laurent Tiersen explained that they invest in a long-term partnership with their agency that exists across all departments, from creative to media, and they develop products together. Collaboration is happening across every single aspect of a product to create something that works entirely for customers. Because what’s the point in making a product there’s no market for, or for trying to market an uncomfortable product. You’ll always be working against the tide and making life more difficult for yourself, when really there’s absolutely no need.
Naturally we’re cheering IKEA on because we’re always banging on about greater collaboration between brands and ad agencies. Nothing exists in isolation, especially not in this current world, and the only way to stay relevant and appealing is to accept that everything connects to one another. If agencies start to work with their clients at the beginning stages, lending their expertise of the market and what it needs, brands will create products that are relevant, beautiful and comfortable. Because the truth is they can have it all, and there’s no need for any of us to be sitting on shit sofas when there’s a more comfortable way of living.