The marketing innovation by the Swedish agency Åkestam Holst, which has been running the ad in the country’s popular Amelia magazine, was first reported by AdWeek.
Mercene Labs, which helped create the ad, explained it had used the pregnancy test strip as a starting point and used the same technology to detect antibodies that bind to the pregnancy hormone hCG, resulting in a colour change. “Technical advancements made during the work with this campaign have the potential to improve medical diagnostics,” the lab claimed.
Åkestam Holst and Ikea have received attention in the past for their advertisements. Their 2016 ad for the furniture company was commended for featuring a divorced couple – normally a taboo subject for ad agencies.
Nor is Ikea the first company to use urination in product promotion. Adweek called the crib ad “definitely the coolest pee-based advertising since 2001 when Animal Planet put urine-scented ads at the bottom of lampposts to attract dogs (whose owners then saw a larger ad at their own eye level promoting a dog award show)”.
Others in the genre include Captive Media’s urine-controlled gaming systems for urinals and Oscar-nominated director Richard Linklater’s protest against Texas’s anti-trans bathroom bill titled “I Pee With LGBT”.