IKEA, purveyor of fine Swedish design, has proven itself as digitally driven as it is democratic with the release of a new advertisement. In the 25-minute-long video, disembodied hands tap against a hard plastic shelf and scratch a pink sheet, pulling at taut, interwoven fibers. All the while, a whispery female voice explains the benefits of various IKEA products. You're going to want to put your headphones on for this one, because IKEA's new video is straight up ASMR.
Quick explainer: According to the National Center for Biotechnology Information, ASMR (autonomous sensory meridian response) is the “sensory phenomenon in which individuals experience a tingling, static-like sensation across the scalp, back of the neck, and at times further areas, in response to specific triggering audio and visual stimuli.”
Many may recognize ASMR as the online subculture of people who chew foods, squeeze goop, or scratch surfaces into high quality microphones. The result is a slightly cringe-worthy, yet slightly satisfying, sensation; people use ASMR to relax.
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Think it’s weird? We here at Food52 prefer not to yuck others’ yums. Plus, an ASMRtist, as the video makers are called, can amass hundreds of thousands of followers. IKEA was clever enough to tap into this online trend and use it to access their youngest audience: college students. (The furniture in the video is intended for dorms.)
Still not convinced? Fine. Don’t mind me. I’ll be over here pressing replay.
Valerio is a freelance food writer, editor, researcher and cook. He grew up in his parent's Italian restaurants covered in pizza flour and drinking a Shirley Temple a day. Since, he's worked as a cheesemonger in New York City and a paella instructor in Barcelona. He now lives in Berlin, Germany where he's most likely to be found eating shawarma.