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The Daily Shame | October 10, 2015

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Ikea Saudi Arabia airbrushes out the ladies so you can admire their worktops more

Ikea Saudi Arabia airbrushes out the ladies so you can admire their worktops more

Hello, women! Have you been to Ikea recently? Apparently, womanhood is really aligned to Ikea’s brand values, which I always thought were all about making people really frustrated by forcing them to walk in a circle for hours and then sending them to a basement to find what they want isn’t there. But no, it’s women. Women, women, women. Ikea = ladies. They’re core to everything.

Really, they’re dead keen on women. They say that their values are shaped by: “equal opportunities and revolutionary approaches to ensure the rights and protection of women and children.” So women are at the very heart of Ikea’s brand values, because Ikea, yes, Ikea the furniture store, is all about equal opportunities for women and children and yadiyadiya, it’s like the Suffragettes fucking MAKE those shitty sideboards.

And there I was thinking Ikea was all about flimsy beds that take five days to put together and five weeks to fall apart, or lampshades for 50p. No, it’s all about women. I thought it was all about Sunday afternoons wanting to murder everyone in the store and then having meatballs because they’re cheap, but no. Ikea’s all about women.

Except… in Saudia Arabia, where women kinda got airbrushed out of the brochure. Yeah, they just sorta disappeared from that one. Whoops! You see, apparently the Saudia Arabian branch of Ikea has decided that the presence of – yeuch – women in their brochure was just a step too far. Because they don’t like to see the laydies in front of their Billy bookcases, they want to see them Billy bookcases in their glory.

And besides, what does a woman want with a Billy bookcase anyway? She’s not going to read anything other than recipe books which are all kept in the kitchen. And the thing about kitchens is that they’re always full of women. How on earth can you admire the worktop when there are gaggles of women hanging around? Nup, it’s best to keep them out of the picture altogether.

And that picture of the woman in the bathroom? Well, clearly she has the ability to disappear, meaning she’s a witch and we don’t want our children learning about witchcraft.

So, then, there are clearly lessons to be learned, but not by Saudi Arabia who have been doing this for donkey’s years and are still clearly in the dark ages. It’s not for us to lecture Saudi Arabia because we’re busy and we’d be here all day. Let’s have a word with Ikea, shall we?

Ikea, sit down, will you? We need to talk. No, turn the Abba down for a minute, we’re serious, we want to talk to you.

Hi. Thanks for the meatballs, by the way. Right, we hear that you have brand values, that’s fantastic. We like brand values. They’re funny. And it’s good that your brand values are all about women and children. As a man, I’m mildly offended that your brand values are nothing about men, but hey ho, let’s sweep that under the Lusy Blom rug for now.

So if you have brand values, how do you expect to police them when you’ve allowed a franchise to operate independently, using your name? Or do your brand values revolve around making as much money as possible, so much so that you franchise stuff out and get surprised when they break your brand values? Really, Ikea, acting offended when your Saudi Arabian franchisee reverts to type and airbrushes out the ladies, it’s like me acting surprised when I can’t put together your Lycksele chair-bed because you haven’t put enough nails in it.

So this isn’t so much a lack of common sense as a lack of business sense.

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