It is commonly held that IKEA is an unusually low-priced, home furnishings and accessories store with its own language, probably called Ikese, and its commitment to flat packing. Who among us hasn’t pondered the finer points of the droppar, which is a jar and the Skanka, which is cookware that is not skanky? But IKEA watchers everywhere would do well to note that this could very well be the newest entertainment company. With the current state of the economy constricting entertainment budgets, IKEA’s recent offerings can be an attractive alternative to the traditional but possibly expensive, dinner and a show.
Instead of conventional advertising, IKEA, with its last fiscal year sales around $30 billion, has moved into the entertainment world with its branded webisodes and in-store-operas that combine marketing with entertainment. Increasingly common webisode marketing is used by companies such as Dos Equis, with their Interesting Man series and Twix, with World Office Sports such as wastebasketball championships. Among IKEA’s assembly of webisodes is one featuring celebrities leaving the Hollywood limelight for jobs at IKEA only to find competition from other celebrities. Definitely worth the price of admission.
But it’s the in-store-opera that really takes the cake, so to speak. Staged in a London store, the Flatpack Opera was said to attract both opera fans and shoppers alike. Budget-minded thinking led to the pre-assembled display rooms functioning as sets, the pots and pans musical instruments. The opera’s arias were said to be liberally sprinkled with Ikese words and slogans. Collapsing bookcases heightened the drama. In such staging, the aim was to break down the common but misplaced pairing of opera and elitism. And who among us hasn’t, in times past, wondered why opera seemed more appropriately paired with duck confit than Swedish meatballs? All that plus dinner from the IKEA restaurant. Isn’t life grand?
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