Ikea: Big Blue Bag installation

To mark its imminent arrival on London’s iconic Oxford Street, Ikea worked with ad agency Mother to create a building wrap with a difference

As marketing stunts go, there’s nothing quite like a big blue bag slap bang in the middle of one of London’s busiest shopping districts. This was the takeover of the iconic, but now empty, Topshop site on Oxford Street by Ikea, to celebrate the pending arrival of its new store to the West End of London.

Having worked on many memorable campaigns for the furniture brand for the past 15 years, ad agency Mother decided to take Ikea’s most recognisable product – the Frakta bag – and turn it into a huge billboard covering the façade of the building.

Standing at 62-feet tall and 128-feet wide, it completely covers the hoardings and is an exact replica of the bag, with two handles (one 87 feet long and 6 feet wide, the other 46 feet long and 6 feet wide) draped over the side. To handle the experiential production side of the stunt, creative company Helo was brought in, having previously worked with the likes of Asics, Santander, Mini and Lego.

It’s the first time a branded building wrap has been used on Oxford Street, and it aims to protect workers and the building from the elements. Additionally, to manage the environmental impact, the billboard was manufactured using a PVC-free polyester-based textile. Once the bag comes down it will also be recycled and reused for another surprise element of the campaign, which is still to be revealed.

As well as advertising the arrival of the new store, the campaign was also a nod to the Balenciaga Arena tote rip-off (which retailed for an eye-watering £1,705 in 2017) and other unsanctioned merch that’s popped up around Ikea. According to research, around 45% of people in the UK have a Frakta bag at home, and nearly a third of those are over five years old. With this campaign, Ikea reclaims its 30-year-old blue bag, cited as “one of the most hardworking bags in the world”.

The Oxford Street store marks a key milestone for Ikea and its continued investment across the capital. This new store will have a total area of 83,000sq ft and customers will be able to explore over 6,000 Ikea products with a showroom, market hall and a Swedish deli. With the launch of city stores, improved existing stores and the creation of new services to meet fulfilment and delivery needs, Ikea hopes to create a “more convenient and sustainable” way to shop the brand.

Astrid Stavro, founder of Astrid Stavro Studio and a judge for the Annual Awards, explains why the project was picked as a winner:

Category: Installations & Exhibitions
Agency: Mother
CCO/Partner: Felix Richter
ECD: Nick Hallbery
Creatives: Filipe Birck, James Lucking-Pham, Jack Willoughby, Serhan Asim
Mother: Kat McCabe
Production Director: Andrew Redpath
Producer: Will Carmichael
Strategy Director: Imogen Carter
Strategist: Vee Lockey
Mother: Albert Ponelle
Business Lead: Matt Taylor
Lead Mother: Sophie Marr
Head of Comms: Tom Wong
Experiential Production Partner: Helo
PR Agency: Weber Shandwick
Client: Kemi Anthony, Marketing Communications
Manager UK & IE