Izzy Ashton

Deputy Editor, BITE Creativebrief


IKEA Frakta bag

Arguably one of the most overused but relevant quotes used in creative spheres is, “imitation is the sincerest form of flattery”. It is what your mum told you when you ran home to tell her that someone had copied your idea at school; it’s what you mutter to yourself as yet another brief goes through that you know you thought of first; and it’s what you think as yet another person makes millions on an app that you could have sworn you invented last year.

Balenciaga has seemingly gone one step further than merely flattering another brand with the release of their latest bag. The blue tote bag with double handles retails for £1,705 and is an (almost) exact replica of the iconic 40p IKEA Frakta shopping bag. The luxury fashion house’s version is however made out of blue leather, and closes with a zip, a feature that the IKEA bag does not have.

But IKEA reacted to the situation with a tongue-in-cheek ad pushed on their social media channels, helping their customers determine whether the bag they were buying was an original Frakta bag, or the luxury version. The guide suggests four concise steps to assist in the identification including shaking the bag, filling it with bricks and water, and even hosing it down. If the bag passes the test, you can happily conclude you have an original Frakta bag. They also enlisted Anders Kyllberg, the fashion photographer, to shoot the bag in a similar style to the Balenciaga images, encouraging Twitter followers to “Show us how you wear yours #totesIKEA”.

There was no scandal evoked by the imitation, with IKEA declaring that they were indeed “extremely flattered” by the design. IKEA used the moment as an exceptional piece of positive and reactive PR, responding to what could have been an affront to their brand. By turning the situation on its head and retaining a positive outlook, the brand maintains its integrity and reach, even if there is a glazed leather version of their tote bag floating around the design world.

This campaign is by the agency ACNE. Visit their showcase to see more of their work.

Related Tags