IKEA – Bully A Plant

The Brief

Verbal bullying is an issue that is commonly overlooked in schools in this region, and the effects of it are noticed too late. And kids don’t even notice when they partake in the act because they don’t realize that words have a huge impact on how people feel.

While parents and teachers are unaware of it even taking place. We wanted to speak to the right audience about stopping bullying in a way that they would find interesting and amusing, while still triggering a change in behavior.

The Solution

Studies prove that plants respond to verbal stimuli just like humans. If we could prove that words have such a negative impact on plants, we could make students realize that the impact is much stronger on fellow students. So we set up an experiment at a local school with two IKEA plants. Our experiment visually showed kids what words can do to a living thing.

We directly spoke to the right audience through something school kids are familiar with- an experiment. We involved the children every step of the way by interviewing them to hear their stories, getting them more involved with the cause. And since school is a place they learn in every day, we saw it as the perfect place to set up the experiment. As the plants changed, so did the mindsets of the students’.

Targeting the right audience at the very same place bullying occurs, we wanted to show kids the effects of bullying in a way that would be interesting and interactive. And we got the students involved every step of the way for them to have a better understanding of the issue, cause, and effects so they are influenced to end bullying.

The Engagement

The campaign gained a popularity where lots of people joined the conversation and shared there thoughts of the experiments and the importance of raising awareness about bullying and its long term effects. Here are some screenshots.


The news about the experiment spread quickly and in 5 days was picked up by news publications all around the world.

The Result

We took two identical IKEA plants and placed them in soundproof glass boxes. The boxes had one speaker each, with holes on the top for kids to be able to listen to the audio. We recorded negative words and positive words. We then said played the negative words to one plant, and positive words to the other for a span of 30 days at the school venue. This experiment was set up in the school’s common area for kids to conveniently pass by it every day to see the change.

1.2 billion media impressions worldwide in only 5 days – $42 million earned media in only 5 days – Bullying cases dropped by 49% within the GEMS School Network – The most successful campaign since the brand’s arrival in the UAE.

Client: IKEA
Project Type: Social Media Campaign
Year: 2018
Agency: Oglivy