When we decided to add a reusable bag to our offer at IKEA Thailand, we asked IKEA of Sweden to secure the production of a canvas bag bearing the IKEA logo and our website address.“Sales went very well,” explains our Commercial Activities Leader Cassandra Seow. “So, we asked IKEA of Sweden to produce the same bag for IKEA Singapore, Malaysia and the Philippines.”IKEA of Sweden assumed that the websites for our other markets were the same as in Thailand (IKEA.co.th). But our other markets all use .com in the address. That’s how we ended up receiving thousands of bags printed with a missing “m” for .com.
The typo may have entitled us to a refund but, then the bags would ultimately have to be scrapped. Since the whole intent with this product was to inspire more sustainable living, we decided to tell the truth. We placed a sign above the bags that said: “Limited unique alamak” (for those not familiar with Singlish, Alamak essentially means: “Oh, no!”).
Underneath, we noted:“At IKEA it’s OK to make a mistake. We printed the wrong website address on the KLAMBY reusable bag but because it’s reusable we won’t scrap them. They’re limited edition and they won’t be back!”Blunder makes headlinesOur honesty and good humour were rewarded with a lot of positive PR in online news stories. And most importantly the bags escaped a terrible fate. One report notes: “IKEA Singapore has not only fully copped to their mistake, but they have also embraced it by turning a negative to a positive and resisted throwing away the bags in order to help preserve the environment. All in keeping with the spirit of the KLAMBY bags, which are reusable after all.” Another outlet said: “Instead of tossing them all out, defeating the purpose of saving the environment, the company owned up to the mistake and decided to sell the bags for a cheap price … It’s unclear if it’s truly a mistake or just a marketing tactic. Either way, well played, IKEA.
Misprint made good PR
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