‘We thought we might try to get celebrity endorsement,’ said Ikea UK marketing director Anna Crona. ‘But instead we ran a viral ad campaign featuring a very unexceptional, ordinary Labour leader, who just kept banging on and on and on and on about how people should get round their negotiating tables. It worked surprisingly well – we sold 800,000 MILIBÅNND negotiating tables within a few days, mainly on 30 June which surprised us as it was a weekday.’
The MILIBÅNND range was introduced last year in an attempt to refresh Ikea’s furniture portfolio, replacing the previous product lines including the unpopular and unreliable BRØN range of upturned desks and industrial shelving, and the earlier BLÄR line of sofas, which were initially hailed as a design classic but became distinctly uncomfortable after about ten years.
‘Our designers toyed with a very similar but slightly more upmarket look for the MILIBÅNND range,’ Crona said. ‘Our customers were all telling us that the other look was much more desirable, but we decided to play it safe. We know it’s not very good quality and slightly unappealing, but we don’t expect many of our customers are actually going to use their negotiating tables anyway so we should get away with it.’
Ikea also confirmed it is considering ‘a radical redesign’ of its key products in time for the autumn. ‘The problem is that our designers haven’t got much inspiration at the moment,’ Crona said. ‘Our suggestions include BÖLS, a rather ugly and square-looking range of cupboards, or the anonymous, bland-looking COOPÖR range of kitchenware which nobody knows anything about. Still, anything’s got to be better than our KLEGG range of collapsible furniture that only went down and wouldn’t go up again no matter what.’