The Swedish bargain furniture mega-retailer and meatball emporium Ikea has a new offer for its (potentially) pregnant customers, according to AdWeek: urinate on one of our ads, and we’ll sell you a discounted crib.
The ad, which was created by the Åkestam Holst agency and is running in the Swedish women’s magazine Amelia, appears to function like a combination pregnancy test and invisible ink message. Here’s the way it works, I guess: the customer urinates on a test strip at the bottom of the ad. If the test detects the pregnancy hormone hCG, it surfaces additional text below the listed price for the crib, showing a new, discounted price in red ink.
The ad seems like a clear PR stunt (in which case, hey, it worked). Joke or not a joke, there’s something unseemly about asking pregnant women to urinate on an ad and (presumably) take the piss-soaked page into the store to get a discount. We already live in a world where tech companies sell our health data to third-party brands. In that way, a corporation asking customers to potentially turn over their own biometric data on a voluntary basis takes on a certain poetry.
What if, instead of asking pregnant customers to urinate on an advertisement and carry the flyer into a mega-store for verification by a poor sales rep, we just believed women who say they are pregnant? Even better—what if, rather than cheekily pandering to AdWeek readers and dudes with sans serif typeface tattoos, Ikea put the money spent on this ad campaign toward curbing infant mortality or doing any number of things that could actually help pregnant women and new mothers? But hey, a piss ad is cool too, I guess.