Why hide and seek could revolutionise your marketing!

IKEA is renowned for its unique visual merchandising techniques. Setting up elaborate bedrooms, kitchens, bathrooms and living rooms in an adult size maze is different from any other furniture store and has not only brought promotional appearances in television shows and movies, but also developed a large cult following for a rather peculiar adult sport . . . Hide and Seek.

There are 73 people playing hide'n'seek in this store below, how many can you spot?

IKEA provides the perfect setting for hide and seek. While navigating the extensive terrain of Swedish furniture, many customers already feel that they will get lost so it would be very easy to find a hiding place. And surprisingly this notion has developed quite a following. However, IKEA aren’t quite as enthusiastic as some of their customers!

A Facebook event has been going around Sydney for a massive game of hide and seek in their local Tempe store on Monday 23 March. Garnering the attendance of more than 30,000 interested consumers, IKEA had to step in and intervene before this event went ahead. Representatives from the Swedish retailer issued a statement referencing ‘security issues for both customers and co-workers’ and ‘encourag[ing] people to play hide and seek at other places’. But is this really the best course of action?

Every retail store would love the opportunity to provide a memorable and entertaining experience for their customers. It means that the interaction is more memorable and the store appears top of mind. IKEA has the opportunity to create this powerful form of entertainment, so why shouldn’t it?

Many organisations turn to sponsorship to build these passionate feelings in customers. When an ordinary person has a fantastic time at an event sponsored by a particular product or brand then they will link those positive feelings with the brand. E.g. You have a fantastic time at the tennis so that fantastic time becomes linked to the brands surrounding your experience.

My question to IKEA – Why not run large scale hide and seek tournaments?

Here is an opportunity to own an incredibly fun and exciting event. During the event all those feelings would become inherently linked to IKEA further reiterating their position as a fun and experiential furniture brand (except for that part where you try and put it all together with an Allan Key!). Sure you may lose a little bit of revenue by having your store closed for a few hours, but you would gain a whole new brand-loyal clientele who will spend many, many more times what you lost over their lifetime!

Entertainment doesn’t have to be confined to the cinema, stage or arena. Take ownership of your customers’ entertainment and they will continue to reward you for years to come.