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Ikea ads target lower-income customers

In a playful campaign for its summer sales event, Ikea put a cap on the income of customers who were welcome to buy during the sale.

The ad campaign, made up of direct mail, billboards, broadcast and print as well as "very rich detectors" at the front of the stores, asked people with incomes over $200,000 to stay away from the sale that offered 50 percent off on select furniture and home furnishings. They were welcomed back after the sale ended June 2, when prices returned to Ikea's regular prices.

To comfort the them while they were banished from the sale, Ikea offered a complimentary copy of "War and Peace" to occupy their time and a free Ikea Espressivo lamp worth $7.95, to light the pages. To qualify, rich customers were invited to send in a copy of a pay stub or tax returns as proof.

Among the print ads was one inviting customers who owned such seafaring craft as a rubber tire, a row boat, a raft or a small motor boat to join, while those owning such pictured craft as yachts were not invited.

From the broadcast perspective, a lawyer making $190,000 at a prestigious law firm qualified but was assured that her bonus would take her over the top.

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