Diary: Ikea a victim of its own send-up?

Ikea has opened a can of worms with its hoax PR campaign to ban the furniture brand, spearheaded by the flamboyant sham-designer Van den Puup, who believes design should be exclusive and expensive.

Cooke & Brand PR set up an email and phone line for the phoney character and, flooded with responses, has found it difficult to differentiate those who have been taken in by the ruse from those enjoying the interaction.

'Huw Shooter' probably got the joke when asking for Puup to design his second guest suite in a fusion of 'Byzantine and Spanish Rococo' styles, but Stef Wheway felt compelled to write: 'It seems we av (sic) a mutual disliking for Ikea! But what's with your prices? Are they for real or is it a joke to take the piss out of Ikea?'

More importantly, the design media passed the test... sort of. One journalist admitted that she had 'begun to despair of the design world', while another saw through it but spent the day, after meeting Puup and his assistant/ muse Maximus la Hanche, thinking he had been the victim of an Ali G-style ambush.

Design media beware - Ikea plans to use Puup for the next three years.

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