Totes IKEA: Making FRAKTA an icon

This campaign was highly commended at the Best Media Relations category at the CorpComms Awards 2017 

While perusing fashion launches last year, Hope&Glory spotted the latest £1,705 bag from luxury brand Balenciaga that happened to bear an uncanny resemblance to its client IKEA's 40 pence FRAKTA bag. It was just the news hook that the agency needed and the latest campaign in its ongoing 'inspired by IKEA' activity, which once likened Lady Gaga's dress to an IKEA lamp shade.

Within half an hour,  a press release hit news desks that contained the phrase: 'We are deeply flattered that the Balenciaga tote bag resembles IKEA's iconic sustainable blue bag. With IKEA, everyone can get the designer look for less.' 

Almost immediately, the story appeared. It started with the Evening Standard, but was swiftly followed by the Guardian, Daily Telegraph, The Sun, METRO, the Independent, Daily Mirror and a half page spread in the Daily Mail. The Sun even used the immortal headline: Swede inspiration. Even fashion titles, including Vogue, Harpers and Cosmopolitan, got in on the act. Within 24 hours, 75 pieces of coverage appeared in the UK, including 60 in fashion, lifestyle and trends titles. HYPEBAE, the self-styled go-to destination for women's contemporary streetwear, dismissed Balenciaga's bag as 'basically an IKEA tote'.

The story then was picked up by Buzzfeed, CNN and Mashable, before appearing in national publications across the globe, including Spain's El Pais, New York Post and Germany's Berliner Morgenpost el Periodico. But as the story was picking up speed, the IKEA team was creating a second phase to the campaign. Within two days of the first press release, the guide How to spot a fake FRAKTA was launched. It advised concerned fashionistas to Shake it, if it rustles then it must be a FRAKTA; check its Multifunctionality, IKEA's bags can carry hockey gear, bricks, even water; Throw it in the dirt, a FRAKTA can simply be hosed down; Fold it, they reduce to the size of a small purse; and finally, that all important Look Inside. Only a real FRAKTA has an authentic IKEA tag. 

The guide led to another series of articles, including several in fashion titles that discussed how Balenciaga's homage is a trend in itself. All told, the campaign received more than 700 pieces of coverage. It was also a hit on social media. On Twitter, the tongue in cheek campaign reached 151 million users 5.16 times, delivering 778 million impressions. There were also 83,500 messages about the likeness from 75,600 people.

But perhaps even more importantly, from IKEA's perspective, UK searches for FRAKTA or 'IKEA blue bag' rose 850 per cent over the five days following the initial release, while traffic to the store's website rose 90 per cent. There was even an unexpected benefit: sales of FRAKTA bags rose 14 per cent.