IKEA recently opened its new store in Catania, Italy, with a print and billboard advertising campaign featuring a gay couple holding hands. The tag line, “Siamo aperti a tutte le famiglie”, (We are open to all families) was designed to draw attention to the new Family discount card and its availability to all kinds of families. The card offers families discounts on products in the IKEA store, café and restaurant, discounts on rental vans, access to exclusive events as well as an offer of 6 months rather than 90 days to return goods. The fine print continues, “With us you will feel at home. What we want to do is make life easier for everyone, every family, every couple, whoever they are”. The campaign, predictably, has been criticized by Italians concerned about eroision of family values. In particular, the campaign has been lambasted by Il Giornale, the newspaper owned by ruling prime minister Silvio Berlusconi.
Il Giornale writer Andrea Indino wrote on 11 March that the campaign is not about gay rights. Instead, he argued, this is just another example of Swedish imperialism and attention seeking. In his most recent article, on 23 April, Indino draws attention to the concerns of Carlo Giovanardi, Secretary of State for Family Policy, that the IKEA campaign undermines the Italian constitution and the government’s affirmation that marriage is only between a man and a woman.