when IKEA befriended a Polish tram

Ever got on a tram with the intent of sinking into a comfortable arm chair, enjoying the décor of Victorian floral prints, and not even paying for the pleasure? 

Well thanks to a great PR idea by our Swedish friends IKEA, you can do all three at the same time. Their Poznan Franowo store in Poland wanted to let the rest of the city know that it is now possible to visit the shop by tram.

IKEA and Polish trams would not usually be associated together. While enjoying a ‘good design at good value’ market positioning in the UK, IKEA stores have a distinctly ‘up-market’ brand image in Poland. There, the typical IKEA customer drives a large 4×4 with smoked windows and employs a Belarussian cleaner.

In Poland, trams are not seen as an ‘eco-friendly’ solution to urban transport gridlock, but as a grim communist era hand me down. Consequently they get banned from the centres of Polish cities and cars – not trams – are given priority at traffic lights and road junctions.

To press home the point that IKEA products are for everybody, not just Poland’s nouveau riche, IKEA struck a deal with MPK, Poznan’s municipal transport company. One articulated tram set has been refitted internally with IKEA furnishings and will operate a free-of-charge service along the new line to Franowo for a fortnight.

Deservedly, IKEA’s gamble has paid off and the PR stunt has generated a massive amount of free publicity for the company. At the same time the company’s deal with MPK has improved the image of the city’s tram network and publicised the opening of the Franowo extension. 

A great example of creative thinking. I wonder how many British operators would consider something like this?

Thanks to the www.polishrail.wordpress.com for this story.