furniture

Ikea throws the world's biggest garage sale

Nov. 4, 2013 at 1:22 PM ET

Ikea
John Sciulli/Getty Images /
Ikea

When you purchase a $200 piece of furniture at Ikea, you may be expecting to use it for a few years and then discard it. But not so fast.

The Swedish retail giant wants you to know its furniture is worthy of living on far beyond that. And in support of that idea, it recently ran an ad campaign that allowed customers to sell their used furniture by way of an online flea market.

According to Mashable, the Norway-based ad agency SMFB was behind the campaign, giving 50 Norwegian customers the chance to sell their used furniture. The customers could post photos of their second-hand stuff on Facebook, and the agency marketed each product on Ikea’s own page.

The full force of Ikea’s massive marketing power promoted each item up for sale, with ads online, on billboards and in broadcast and print. The ads all bore the seller's real first name and actual phone number. 

"It worked as an actual flea market in the sense that it was only available on Sundays. Upon closing time, we removed all the products from the page,” SMFB creative partner Hans Magne Ekre told Mashable. Think Craigslist but without any threat of scams—and if Craigslist marketed all your stuff for you in the hugest way imaginable.

Mashable reports that every item sold by the end of the campaign, which was meant to inspire customers to make environmentally friendlier choices by reselling instead of trashing their old stuff. (During the same period, sales of new Ikea stuff went up too.)

We’re all about upcycling and going green in whatever little ways we can, and we love the idea of giving our old furniture new life instead of tossing it into a landfill. So come on, Ikea, when are you expanding this genius campaign to the states?

Trash it, donate it, or sell it: What do you do with your old Ikea or other inexpensive furniture?

Alesandra Dubin is a Los Angeles-based writer and the founder of home and travel blog Homebody in Motion. Follow her on FacebookGoogle+ and Twitter.

A version of this story originally appeared on iVillage.


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