‘Show, don’t tell’ just got serious.
You’re walking through Ikea, browsing carefully-arranged showrooms with accent pillows and bookends, dutifully walking where the arrows point you, when suddenly you find yourself in a cinderblock room with tattered rugs and bare mattresses littering the floor.
This room, which an Ikea in Norway put on display for 2 weeks this fall, was as perfectly curated as the rest. The difference was that, instead of being designed to sell ready-to-assemble furniture, it was designed to look like a real home in war-torn Syria.
The meagerly furnished space was modeled after the home of Rana, a mother in Damascus who’s raising her four children in the midst of a bloody civil war.
Rana’s room holds a few basics like photos and toys but not much else.
The stunt is a joint project between Ikea and the Norwegian Red Cross. It’s designed to raise money for people living in Syria, which has been ravaged by war since 2011.
The project was successful, raising more than $23 million during its 2-week installation in October.
The life-like replica raised awareness in addition to much-needed funds: Ikea used its iconic tags to teach visitors about Rana and her family’s struggles accessing food, clean water and medicine.
Snorre Martinsen of the ad agency POL, which designed the room, said the stunt was the best way to bring awareness to the Western world about what’s happening in the Middle Eastern country.
“We already had a lot of footage from within Syria, but no matter how emotional it was, nothing got close to the experience of visiting people in a war zone,” he told AdWeek.
You can learn more about the Red Cross’s “Syria Crisis Appeal” campaign?—?and make your own donation to help those affected by the civil war?—?at this link.