Opinion: IKEA’s apology was unnecessary

Casey Sugilia

Anne Buie

IKEA’s most recent catalogue features not only furniture, but women modeling with the furniture to show how comfortable and useful the company’s furniture really is.

However, in the Saudi-Arabian version of the catalogue, the same images of the furniture appear – sans the women.

Casey SugiliaIKEA photoshopped the women out of the catalogue to appeal to the Saudi-Arabian male dominated society.

After receiving much backlash, IKEA apologized for its actions.

But why? IKEA was simply following the normal business format – focusing on what appeals to their consumers.

IKEA was simply targeting their consumer, and in the dirty world of advertising and money making, they were simply trying to sell furniture.

Yes, IKEA is responsible for photoshopping the women out of their photos. But they were marketing to the consumer.

Saudi Arabia is a male-dominated society. Women cannot vote, they can not drive, or hold high political office. When it comes to making decisions on spending
money for big items such as furniture, the man of the household will probably be doing the spending.

Therefore, IKEA is not at fault for gearing their catalogue toward consumers who will actually being doing the shopping.

But we cannot blame businesses when it comes down to business.

Advertisements are always changing depending on the demographic. Advertisements geared toward kids focus on aspects that appeal to children – happier colors and upbeat music. Advertisements for adults focus on the effectiveness of the products – the colors and music reflect that.

So, why should IKEA be scolded for shifting the focus of their advertisement?

We should hold IKEA responsible for their actions and accept their apology. But we should not put them to blame for being business minded.

IKEA was only being considerate and focusing on their consumers.


Suglia, a sophomore journalism major from Pinehurst, is a blogger.