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Brief Published: 24 Sep 2012

Ikea’s Floating Market, London


Swedish furniture retailer Ikea found an innovative way to display its new collection during London Design Festival: a floating market on Regent's Canal in North London. Attendees had to register in advance on Facebook for a place.

The one-off, sell-out event offered a preview of Ikea’s Autumn/Winter 2012 collection. New textile products were displayed in colour-themed groups on a flotilla of 14 moored boats, each of which was helmed by an actor to explain the new collections to the audience.

Produced by London-based creative PR agency Cake, the project was inspired by traditional floating markets in Asia. Visitors were punted across the canal to the moored boats in gondolas decked out with Ikea soft furnishings.

While visitors waited for their gondolas to arrive, cocktails and canapés were served in a large riverside tent, in which everything from the cushions to the glassware was an Ikea product. However, none of the products were for sale. The idea was simply to showcase the brand’s new collection in a highly original, recreational space.

Ikea is no stranger to quirky initiatives that enhance the consumer experience. Past initiatives include dog-parking bays now offered outside German Ikea stores, and a ‘male-friendly’ zone in its Sydney branch, complete with video games and table football.

For more on how placing the product in context and introducing an element of role-play can benefit the retail experience, see the Product Playgrounds section of Retail Industry Trend, The Power of Play. For more on how to use site-specific experiences to excellent effect, see the Spaces report Immersive Theatre, and the Retail report Branded Festival Experiences.