The Shorty Awards honor the best of social media and digital. View this season's finalists!

Special Project

Special Project
From the 9th Annual Shorty Awards

IKEA, Ogilvy and The Economist Group: Discovering The New American Dream

Gold Honor in GIFs


IKEA and Ogilvy worked with The Economist Group and their research arm, The Economist Intelligence Unit (The EIU), to gain fresh, pivotal research insights on what The American Dream of the future looks like for Americans. The Economist Group distributed the associated findings through custom-designed social media-friendly assets on a bespoke microsite to inform and inspire new conversations from the broader public across the United States, as well as IKEA's target audiences.

The campaign aimed to utilize these social media assets, such as highly-sharable and catchy gifs, impactful quotes, statistics, graphs and still images via social media as a key messaging tactic for the "Discovering The New American Dream" campaign.

Specifically, the program's custom-designed gifs tell a richer, more captivating visual story than static images would allow. We wanted to showcase a standard research paper in an intriguing, bite-sized, visual and whimsical approach, imitating an Instagram or Tumblr account. Gifs are pivotal to storytelling on those social platforms, and became an ideal cornerstone to showcase the various sections of the EIU research.

Distributed parallel to IKEA's "We Help You Make It Campaign," which focused on social progress, acceptance and forward-thinking, the "Discovering The New American Dream" gifs were aimed to further IKEA's participation in forward-thinking interactivity and discussions and helped increase the brand's cultural relevancy.

The gifs allowed "Discovering The New American Dream" to most-effectively reach a younger audience, who engaged highly with the social media content, making the EIU's research more accessible, visual and digestible.

Strategy and Execution

"Discovering The New American Dream" began with an EIU-driven survey of people across the US on the aspects of modern life that create prosperity, value and purpose, and how the "American dream" is evolving.

The study explored questions like:

Based on the insights and survey data, interviews and desk research, the EIU developed the keystone deliverable of "Discovering The New American Dream," an interactive digital report house on a microsite. This online destination has the look and feel of an Instagram or Tumblr account with each piece of content designed to focus on a unique part of the American Dream. It was also created to be highly shareable in social channels.

The structure of the microsite includes five media-rich and engaging chapters focused on a unique part of the American Dream as represented by portraits of every-day Americans. These chapters showcased their hopes and dreams accompanied by infographics highlighting key data from the survey, insightful quotes about the American dream from leading thinkers as well as a custom gifs and other visual elements that clearly demonstrate the theme of "Discovering The New American Dream."

The set of five gifs help create a more vibrant tapestry on the microsite. Each specially-designed gif represents a chapter of the research as well as an intro, and together, they break open what Americans are thinking about today in terms of the American Dream they expect for tomorrow. The gifs also create an a tone of sharability and catchiness, making the content surrounding it more attractive to audiences, overall.

Social media distribution included distribution on official IKEA Twitter accounts, sponsored and organic EIU social media amplification, and a live twitter chat event. Promoted to The Economist Group audiences, this twitter chat was hosted by The Economist Intelligence Unit led by Rebecca Lipman, editor of the EIU research study, with experts Courtney Martin (American feminist, author, speaker, and social and political activist) and Dr. Sheen S. Levine (Researcher and Professor exploring how people behave and how they impact others, organizations and markets).


The campaign's content microsite, which houses the gifs, saw a site dwell time of nearly triple the benchmark of average time spent on page across EIU programs.

Social media was an integral facet to driving engagement with "Discovering The New American Dream," with social shares and engagement, of which the gifs were pivotal, proving distinct success throughout the program:

The live Twitter chat event's impressions, estimated reach and engagement all outperformed expectations, setting a new standard and informing future success benchmarks for Economist Intelligence Unit Twitter chat programs. There was also notable engagement via the hashtag #AmericanDreamChat.

Speaking to the program as a whole, all feature inclusions of the "Discovering the New American Dream" content (including gif) in The Economist's weekly newsletter outperformed the clickthrough rate benchmarks by over 42%.

In the press, the "Discovering the New American Dream" EIU study findings and interview with Lars Petersson were incredibly successful and drove seven media placements, including The New York Times, AdWeek, Curbed, The Kitchn, Marketplace, DMN News, The Drum, Furniture Today, and Retail Dive.


Entrant Company / Organization Name

The Economist Group, IKEA, Ogilvy


Entry Credits