I have a confession to make.
I'm a 38-year-old male. And I love Instagram.
My wife and I were relative latecomers, becoming users of the app earlier this year. But in that short time, I've reconnected with old friends and been given a window into their everyday lives--which is usually a great thing.
However, once in a while, I'm reminded of how crazy social media apps like Instagram have made us.
Before saying anything else, you've got to see Ikea's newest advert for yourself:
In case you don't have access to video when you read this (and you really want me to spoil it for you), the ad opens with a circa 18th-century family that's about to eat dinner. Eager in anticipation, a young girl begins with an apple. She is quickly reprimanded by the father, with a look that conveys, "You should know better," followed by the entrance of an artist who proceeds to paint his depiction of the meal.
Once the father is satisfied with the portrait, on to the next step: A small team rush both artist and artwork around the community to get direct feedback on the painting. (It's in these mini scenarios that the ad really takes off, so if you haven't checked it out yet, do yourself a favor and watch the video.)
The ad ends with the same actor portraying a modern-day father holding his hungry family back from eating while he documents the latest meal on his phone. These final images are overlaid with the following text:
It's a meal. Not a competition.
As the father receives disapproving looks from his (hungry) family, the text continues:
Published just a few days ago, the short video has already been viewed about 2.5 million times on YouTube. Of course, this isn't the first time an Ikea ad has gone viral. (Just check out this beauty from two years ago.) But this one seems to get better every time I watch it. (Did you notice the painting hanging on the family's wall, at the end?)
What makes this ad so great is that it plays on the ease with which we lose balance in life. Ironically, an app that began as a way to reconnect, relax, and pass the time has inspired, at times, stress, a spirit of competition, and fear of missing out.
All of this makes the message of the Swedish furniture chain such a good one:
"Let's relax. It's time to check those expectations at the kitchen door, and rediscover the simple joy of cooking, eating, and being together."
And in a world where we are constantly connected, let's make sure to find time to unplug.
(Disclosure: I don't own an Ikea kitchen. But I do love their meatballs.)