running words around
design education and visual communication
authored by chris m hughes

IKEA KANA complain

Sunday, 2 August 2009

In a recent post about mashup graphics, 'Naked Re-Lunch', I briefly mentioned the legal implications of taking the form to its logical extreme by creating 'cut-up' advertising - where branding visuals and trademarks could be collaged and mixed up by competing organisations. A recent case has surfaced that seems to provide a taster of what might follow.

A small Scottish company. Olympian Furniture, has been threatened with legal action by Swedish giant IKEA, over a clever sales campaign which features a mashup and wordplay gag based on the IKEA branding.

Olympian IKANA campaign

Olympian uses the phrase "IKANA believe how good this summer sale is" - amusing bit of Scottish vernacular wordplay, with the text in yellow bold sans on a blue background – the IKEA livery and typography. The final touch is the white outline couch illustration. The Olympian campaign is online, in-store in its outlets in Edinburgh, Glasgow and Giffnock, and on the Glasgow Underground.

IKEA, love them or hate them, are worth £21 billion, and provide almost any home interior solution you can think of based around their cleverly named modular designs(which owe a great deal to Bauhaus, but that's another story).

When it comes to branding, and ultimately to money, most organisations have a distinctly poor sense of humour, and IKEA is no exception.

Perhaps, instead of threatening a court case that could ruin a small business employing about 30 people, IKEA should take the joke and reuse it themselves with their presumably considerable creative resources.

Or maybe IKEA are just smarting at the catchphrase on the IKANA ads - 'Real Furniture With Personality'.