Posted August 24, 2010 12:17 am by with 6 comments

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Have you ever played hide-and-seek at IKEA? I have, though not intentionally. The stores are set up in these funky little mazes that make it very easy to lose a husband or a child while shopping, so it’s no wonder that people have taken to playing the game there on purpose. This week, the idea rose to new heights when a person in Australia set up a Facebook event announcing a “massive” game at their local store. Since then, almost 4,000 people have signed up and the news has gone viral.

Smart Company Australia quoted the local IKEA spokesperson as saying that they weren’t behind anything that might endanger shoppers, but they weren’t going to go so far as to ban the game.

And why should they? This is the kind of thing PR companies get paid big money to arrange and IKEA is getting it for free. But short of waiting for a public epiphany to happen related to your product, Smart Company says there’s a way to create this kind of event for yourself.

“People play hide-and-seek at IKEA anyway, and that’s why this is gaining attention. I think the idea here is to look at what people are doing in your business and try and create Facebook pages or similar campaigns from that.”

They give the example of a lollipop company where people can never decide which flavor to buy when they come to the store. The response? Put up a Facebook page that asks people to choose their favorite flavor.

Avon had a situation similar to this years ago with a body oil that consumers swore was the best bug repellent. So many people were buying it for that purpose, despite proof that it wasn’t effective at all, Avon finally started packaging and promoting the item as such.

The lesson here, says Smart Company, is to focus on what your customers are already doing and not what you want them to do.

Remember, “how many licks does it take to get to the center of a Tootsie Pop?” There’s a major Facebook game in that, I just know it.

Coke vs Pepsi. Federal Express becoming Fedex. Consumer behavior has a history of influencing marketing. Can you think of another example?

  • I think this is a great viral marketing idea, it promotes the company in a free and fun way, getting potential customers through the door, even if it is to play hide and seek.

    • Getting customers in the door is typically the hard part. Think of all the unintended items they’ll come across by seeking good hiding places rather than just sticking to the arrow trail!

      I can’t get out of Ikea without loads of stuff, if I were there for an hour or two playing I’m sure I’d pick up a few items I “needed” for the house as well.

      Love this idea. In fact, I need to go to Ikea…

      • Cynthia Boris

        I hear you. IKEA is the master of impulse buying. They must have done psychological testing in order to find the optimum layouts for their stores because no one else does it like they do.

  • I agree that communication is still important!

    Thanks for posting!

  • Great post. It shows that if, even large companies like Ikea, can keep an eye on what’s happening “out there”, so far as social media is concerned, it can be a huge PR and Marketing bonus. One that can add great extra sales or even more importantly that extra connectivity to their customers.

    I look forward to my next game of hide and seek in Ikea….


  • haha great idea.
    now that’s outside the box thinking.

    if things are happening anyway, it is beneficial for the company to get involved.