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Company: IKEA International
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Brand: IKEA
Ad Title: Redecorate Your Life
Business Category: Retail
Media Outlets: Television
Country: Spain
Region: Europe
Agency: SCPF
Year: 1999
Target: Mainstream
Ad Spotter: Bob Garfield
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Theme(s)

Trans Beauty

GLBT Inclusion

Theme Breakdown

AdRespect Score: 
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Set in a hospital, and with cheerful music, a woman is shown being returned to her bed from a gurney, having just had an operation.

She opens her eyes as flowers are brought to her and doctors consult on her progress. Time passes and she regains her strength to walk and then gets gifts of lingerie and slippers.

Then ready to leave, she packs her clothes but sneers at an old suit. Looking at her ID card, which has the man's name of Jose Felix Torres, she burns it then smiles -- this is when it is made known that she is a male-to-female transsexual, and had been a man before the surgery. The tagline then appears: "Redecorate your life."

She's then shown walking out of an IKEA store with longer hair and new goods for her new life. The comedic closing shot shows her making a rather "unladylike" adjustment of her new panties, which of course anyone could be caught doing.

This is a remarkably nonjudgmental, rather uplifting portrayal of a person who has changed sexes. It makes the act of redecorating one's home seem much less difficult!

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Sharon , Seattle
Loved the ad. Didn't like the stereotypic comment that the panty adjustment was unladylike. Believe me, many non-transgendered women of whatever proclivity adjust their panties (or "underwear" as I prefer to refer to them) in exactly that way all the time. Exactly which stereotypes are we trying to address here? Do we get to trade one for another? That is a classic anti-bias dilemma, by the way.

Stephen W. Griffin , Billings, Mont.
Excellent, impressive, progressively subtle.

Alessandro Cintoli , Rome
It's interesting that the commercial's theme tune is way too similar to a famous work by the singer/songwriter Gino Paoli, called Senza Fine, and that it's sung in Italian, although the target market is Spain. I guess the ad agency wanted to use Mr.Paoli's song but he objected. Anyway, for those interested, here is the English translation of the first lines of both songs:

Senza Fine: Endlessly, you drag our life, without a moment for pausing, dreaming, remembering what we lived already.

Commercial: With love, there's a smile that touches my heart, let's invent a future for us, to fly, to dream what is still unknown.

Beth , Cardiff, Wales
I think this should win an award for being the only commercial in almost any media period to portray gender change not only as a positive thing but also in a natural and un-sensational manner. Too bad they didn't have one for female to male as well.

Andrea James , Los Angeles, CA
This is great!

Tracy , Asheville, NC
I really like this ad. I Wish they would show it in the states, yeah right! This is a very affirming and humanizing ad for trans people.

Susan Cooper , Saratoga Springs, NY
Thank you. Great ad. How about running it in the US. It's the realization that transgender individuals are just normal people with the same desires to live a normal life.

Kim , Lancaster. Pennsylvania
As a trans-person who owns a home full of IKEA, I loved it. Yes, "we" are a market. I love being mainstream!

Julie Moore , Bennington, VT
I think this ad is incredible.

I don't think the panty adjustment was meant to portray her "unlady-like" nature, but rather to show the ease in which this individual can slip into the role of a woman.

Women adjust their thongs all the time (they are not comfortable) and I think the panty adjustment is a very small but adorable marker that this individual has indeed entered the world of women.

Many transexual women love to shave their legs while many biological women hate it. Why do the transexual women love the semi-annoying activities of womanly life? Because it helps them identify with the gender through shared activity and annoyance.

I think the panty adjustment is a very similar thing in that it seems to say "well, you are now one of us."

I absolutely love this commercial and think it is the best trans-friendly ad I have ever seen. Makes me all teary.

Abby , Portland, OR
If adjusting your panyhose is unladylike, then I'm in big trouble! Sweet commercial.

Diana , Hamburg, Germany
Hi,
I'm also a transsexual and I like this video very much. It's a very good one. It shows a real woman and not a person from a strange planet. She wears normal clothes. She is a woman like all the others and not a "special one". It reminds me of when I woke up the first time in the hospital and the nice days afterward.

Diana

Eduard , Barcelona, Spain
Goose pimples. BTW, directed by Isabel Coixet (Secret Life of Words)

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