Ikea Shows Off An AR-Enabled 19-Foot Shopping Bag

Ikea’s got a brand-new bag. This one is a 19-foot sculpture the retailer plans to show off first in Chicago*, encouraging consumers to think about all the decorating solutions they can find in that familiar, crinkly-blue tote.

The sculpture also includes what Ikea says is a first for a retailer: an augmented reality experience using Adobe’s geolocation technology to enable viewers to redeem a coupon at their nearest Ikea store. When people scan the QR code, AR animations of iconic Ikea products start to fly out of the bag.

“We love to do things that are what we call 'a twinkle in the eye,’” says Christine Whitehawk, the company’s external communications manager. “It’s just something to make people stop and smile.”

The stunt links back to the company’s latest campaign platform, The Giving Bag, launched in March. Those ads use the Frakta bag to help a little boy make a difficult move, as well as a metaphor for the campaign tagline: “Affordable design. Endless possibilities."



Whitehawk tells Marketing Daily the company, working with its partners at Ogilvy, also wanted a new way to do out-of-home. This effort accomplishes the campaign’s two primary missions: “Having the products come out of the bag shows just how surprised you may be by our products, and the code shows how much you can get,  because of Ikea’s affordability.”

The QR code offers discounts ranging from $25 off a $150 purchase to $75 off a $250 purchase.

Unlike the many brands that toss the words “iconic” around as if they’ve never met a dictionary, the Ikea bag truly is that recognizable. Called Frakta, which means 'transport’ in Swedish, it’s even been knocked off by Balenciaga. In 2017, the luxury brand reimagined Ikea’s 99-cent tote into a $2,145 bag. And Frakta’s brighter-than-the-Swedish-flag hue, which Architectural Digest has called Hyper Blue, has become part of the world’s color wheel and is as easy to spot as Tiffany Blue.

After its Chicago appearance, the bag is scheduled to travel to Houston, eventually making its way to New York. 

Whitehawk says the hope is that people will photograph the jumbo bag and take it viral on social media like other sculptural statements, such as the LL Bean Boot Mobile or Oscar Mayer’s Frankmobile.

“There’s just an emotional connection to something fun and unexpected," she adds.

The company is still working out how the bag will be transported and which markets it will visit. But Whitehawk says it will likely play an outsized role in Ikea’s back-to-college events this summer.

*An earlier version of this story said the bag would appear first in New York. Due to air quality issues, Ikea has rescheduled the bag's appearances. 

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