New Program Consists of a $100,000 Consumer ‘Sabbatical’ Contest, In-Store Seminars, Employee Challenge and New National Advertising Campaign

CONSHOHOCKEN, Pa. (September 14, 2010) – IKEA, The Life Improvement Store, announced today the consumer launch of The Life Improvement Project, a program designed to educate, inspire and empower people to improve their lives, as well as the lives of others in their community. The national program consists of the Life Improvement Sabbatical Contest, offering one person the opportunity to win a year-long sabbatical* (worth $100,000) to improve the lives of others; a series of free Life Improvement Store Seminars for consumers, hosted in IKEA stores across the U.S.; and a Life Improvement Co-Worker Challenge, giving IKEA employees (co-workers) the opportunity to get further engaged in local community initiatives. Starting today, people can visit The Life Improvement Project website (http://www.thelifeimprovementproject.com/) for more information on these programs, and to begin building a better life.

The Life Improvement Project supports the company’s new brand platform, The Life Improvement Store, an idea designed to communicate the company’s core vision and mission of creating a better everyday life for the many people. This concept is also being introduced to the public via a national ad campaign, “Made By,” that commenced on national cable, online and print media, and local broadcast media, on August 29, 2010.

“As ‘The Life Improvement Store,’ we deepen our connection with consumers, and provide new opportunities – beyond just our products and services – to support them in life improvement projects at home and beyond,” says Leontyne Green, Marketing Manager, IKEA North America. “We are excited to launch The Life Improvement Project – the Contest, Seminars and Co-Worker Challenge – to really bring this new initiative to life in a tangible way.”

Details for The Life Improvement Project components are as follows:

Life Improvement Sabbatical Contest: Understanding that people have a desire to be a positive force within their community, but may not have the time or resources to do so, IKEA is offering a unique contest for one person to win a year-long sabbatical* (worth $100,000) to advance a project that improves the life of others, and share their experience with the world. From September 14 – November 8, 2010, those that are interested can submit their Life Improvement proposal online at http://www.thelifeimprovementproject.com/. Five finalists will be chosen from submissions by a panel of judges and the winner will be determined by public vote, and announced on January 31, 2011.

*NOTE: The grand prize winner is not required to take a leave of absence from work. If the grand prize winner chooses to take leave from employment to work on their project, they can utilize a portion of the prize toward living expenses.

Life Improvement Store Seminars: IKEA understands the challenges people face in their day-to-day life at home, and will host a series of 51 free Life Improvement Store Seminars at store locations across the country to provide customers with the tools, inspiration and product suggestions to help people improve their life at home. These seminars will be hosted by experts from 13 publications including Family Circle and their partner Food University, Cooking Light, ReadyMade and This Old House. In addition, seminars will be offered in select stores by life coaching experts provided by O, The Oprah Magazine. The free, in-store seminars will kick-off October 9, 2010 and extend through July 24, 2011. Information on the Life Improvement Store Seminars – including dates and locations – will be posted on http://www.thelifeimprovementproject.com/.

Life Improvement Co-Worker Challenge: Committed to the company vision of creating a better everyday life for the many people, IKEA co-workers are dedicated to being a positive force in their local communities. IKEA is hosting an internal Life Improvement Co-Worker Challenge to provide $10,000 each to support five winning community projects suggested by teams of co-workers across the country. This challenge gives IKEA co-workers the opportunity to win additional funding and support for a local charitable organization/cause of their choice. This challenge kicked off September 8, 2010, and reaches more than 13,000 IKEA co-workers across the U.S. The five winning community projects will be determined on December 8, 2010.

“Made By” Advertising Campaign: The creative agency for IKEA and brainchild behind The Life Improvement Store concept, Ogilvy & Mather, created an integrated marketing campaign to demonstrates how everyday people – the Johnsons, the Garcias, and others – create individual living spaces “made by” them, and “designed by” IKEA to help make their life at home better. The new campaign, titled “Made by,” kicked off August 29, 2010 on national cable, and will run throughout the year in national print, online and local broadcast media.

For more information on The Life Improvement Project, including the Life Improvement Sabbatical Contest and Life Improvement Store Seminars, visit http://www.thelifeimprovementproject.com/.


There are currently more than 300 IKEA stores in 38 countries, including 37 in the U.S. Since its 1943 founding in Sweden, IKEA, the world’s leading home furnishings company, has offered home furnishings and accessories of good design and quality at prices so low that the majority of people can afford them. TIME Magazine listed IKEA as one of the top 8 most global eco-conscious companies. IKEA incorporates sustainable efforts into day-to-day business and continuously supports initiatives that benefit causes such as children and the environment. For more information, go to IKEA-USA.com.