Campaign: IKEA furniture dances down the red carpet

In August 2006, IKEA launched its 'Stockholm' range of upmarket dining and living room products.

Campaign IKEA Stockholm
Client IKEA
PR team
In-house, plus Done and Dusted (event production) and Quintessentially Events
Timescale July-August 2006
Budget £700,000

Although positioned as affordable, the range was more expensive than the Swedish firm’s standard wares, reflecting the use of quality materials such as velvet, mohair and leather.

The retailer staged a lavish unveiling at London’s Old Billingsgate market to launch the products.

Objectives
To create a stunt that would provide a talking point and showcase the new IKEA Stockholm collection. To treat the products in the range like celebrities arriving at a film premiere. To position the Swedish firm as the leading home furnishing retailer.

Strategy and Plan
With only six weeks to organise the stunt, the PR team sent out an email to over 1,000 media and design contacts – predominantly architects and interior designers – advising them to save 30 August in their diaries. To create
further curiosity and expectation, two teasers were sent out, giving details of a microsite dedicated to the new range.

The day itself saw a motorcade – comprising a blacked-out lorry with a ‘Super Expensive Stuff?’ tagline and eight motorcycle outriders – driving around London, while a helicopter circled overhead. At 7pm, media and design guests arrived at Old Billingsgate market. They were greeted by a countdown to build up expectation for ‘the arrival of the stars’.

The consultancies involved had decided to dress the venue as a glamorous VIP-style arena to reflect the image of the Stockholm range. The motorcade arrived at 8pm, at which point a team was on hand to take individual furniture from the lorry.

The team walked lightshades, bedside tables and other originally flatpacked items along a red carpet. Each piece of furniture had its own theme tune. The Stockholm floor lamp, for instance, was boogied from the truck to Madonna’s Ray of Light.

Actors posing as paparazzi photographers and a star-struck crowd took pictures of, and screamed at, a jitterbugging bedside table and chest of drawers.

IKEA erected the furniture on podiums, beneath which UK PR manager Nicki Craddock explained the concept behind the range, before steering the guests to a buffet. A Swedish band called Jump for Joy played in the background.

Measurement and Evaluation
London’s Metro, Retail Week, and various bloggers, covered the event. The Stockholm range featured in a number of magazines, including Elle Decoration, Living Etc, BBC Good Homes Magazine, Ideal Home, 25 Beautiful Homes and House Beautiful.

Results
IKEA says the range contributed to the retailer’s nine per cent sales growth in 2006. Of the 1,000 invitees, more than 700 people attended.

Chloe Elkerton, home editor of Best, says: ‘I can’t believe how much of an effort was made. It was really fun and different.’

Simon Hamilton, dir­ector of Simon Hamilton Interior Des­ign, adds: ‘I was amazed, and I regularly attend big launches all over the world’.

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