IKEA's Political Event Involves a Replica White House Oval Office

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IKEA’s Political Event Involves a Replica White House Oval Office

The high cost of travel has caused some consumers to stay close to home this year. So resourceful home-furnishings brands rolled out programs that took everything—including the kitchen sink (well almost!)—to them reaching commuters in Washington and festivalgoers from Newport RI to the San Mateo County Fair.

SwedishSwedish home retailer IKEA earlier this year set up the ultimate home office—a replica of the White House’s Oval Office—in Union Station in Washington D.C. The IKEA-furnished office was part of a marketing program called Embrace Change ’09 that played off the new administration coming into the White House.

“Everyone has a fiscal responsibility to embrace change and embrace change at home ” says Raymond Simanavicius p.r. event manager at IKEA. “Sometimes change can be a challenge. We offer inspiration to make changes at home that reflect what is important in life whatever the change may be. And it doesn’t have to cost a lot of money.”

At Union Station commuters could sit in the most powerful chair in the world. They signed a guest book that was delivered to President Obama and his family. A mock motorcade consisting of a limo and two Suburbans with furniture fit for a president strapped to the roof traveled the streets. At embracechange09.com consumers could design a virtual office and enter to win home office furnishings. The retailer even offered to redesign and furnish any rooms in the White House with its furniture—no word on whether the First Family accepted.

This summer two brands— Haier and HomeGoods —took to the highways with mobile tours.  Home appliance and electronics brand Haier America over the fourth of July weekend launched its second Haier Home Tour at Taste of Chicago and traveled to fairs and festivals in 11 additional cities. Its 53-foot trailer folded down into a front porch with a three-room walk-through filled with Haier products including an air conditioner that cooled the entire mobile home a side-by-side refrigerator cabinetry a dishwasher panini maker coffee maker LCD TVs a beverage center and washer and dryer (Escalate New York City handled).

SwedishBrand ambassadors and reps from local retailers advised consumers on pricing and answered questions. A sweepstakes dangled nearly $5 000 worth of Haier appliances.

“We want to educate people about Haier ” says vp-marketing Richard Block. “It’s one thing for them to go online and compare products but this is a way to touch and see them then go to a local retailer and buy them.”

HomeGoods the off-price home fashions store created the Be HomeGoods Happy Tour a mobile design home that in July and August traveled from Rhode Island to Maryland. The pre-fabricated home on a truck unfolded at event stops to become a 350-square-foot mini house with a living room bedroom and kitchen filled natch with Home Goods merchandise. Visitors could take the HomeGoods StyleScope an interactive quiz created by Domino magazine founder Deborah Needleman to discover their own personal style (Agencies: LIME public relations + promotion New York City; Blu Homes Waltham MA).

“The idea was to bring the store to people in a way that was really engaging and highlighted what makes us unique and different which is our fashionable and high-quality products at low prices ” says Katherine Beede vp-marketing at HomeGoods. “We thought putting it in a house format made sense and we didn’t want to just decorate a house that sat stationary.”

The tour was part of an integrated campaign that included instant-win scratch-off cards for discounts on purchases and the chance to win a daily $10 or $20 gift card giveaway and a weekly sweeps for $5 000 enough to make any stay-at-home consumer happy.    em

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