New Car Launches: MINI, IKEA

Jalopnik found a new mini site Ikea has launched to showcase the reveal of a ‘concept car’. The wrapped vehicle is called Leko. Jalopnik translated some of the French on the intro page which says the concept car is a modular design which can operate as a coupe or as a convertible, and has the full backing of the World Wildlife Fund France. Rumor is that the car will be sold flat-packed and assembled with only an allen wrench. The site counts down to a few moments before April 1st.
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IKEA promises Joy, Hope, Love and Peace.

Well, of course they do. I just came across this IKEA campaign, which spanned spectacular billboards – somewhat redolent of the Absolut ones from 1999 – and magazines. (I think these were done by Zig in Toronto)

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Just for sh-ts and kicks, here’s the Absolut Billboard from 1999. Coincidentally the furniture on this was also from IKEA.

Absolut New York

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Three Types of Retail Experience

J.Crew’s latest Manhattan store (the brand’s first men’s shop), pays tribute to classic American workwear. The 935-square-foot outpost is housed in the former digs of Liquor Store Bar, and retains the feel (if not the drunken good times) of its previous incarnation; the bar and bathrooms are intact, and whiskey bottles adorn its dark wood walls.
On offer are specialty pieces from J.Crew’s men’s collection, Thomas Mason shirts, Globe-Trotter luggage, and a selection of vintage items that round out the space’s quirky aesthetic (think tie-bars, first-edition books, and vinyl LPs). Thank Jack Spade cofounder Andy Spade for the look—J.Crew consulted with him to help curate the goods and, apparently, the lifestyle that goes along with them: The new store’s sponsoring a series of workshops based on Spade and business partner Anthony Sperduti’s forthcoming book, What a Man Should Know (Chess, wine, and figure-drawing, among other things apparently)

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Nashville residents looking for Swedish design at low prices don’t have access to a local IKEA; the nearest blue-and-green big box is in Atlanta. So two friends decided to bring IKEA to Tennessee by taking orders from customers and driving down to Atlanta to pick up the goods. Customers submit their orders on modernash.com, listing item numbers, colours, etc. Modernash brings the goods to its Nashville storage facility, where customers can pick up their orders (the company also offers home delivery for an additional USD 50).
ModerNash’s shipping rates are significantly lower than those charged by IKEA, ranging from 20–29% of a customer’s total purchase amount.The company also assembles furniture for USD 25/hour, handles returns (even for customers who didn’t order through ModerNash), and partners with other local companies that design and install IKEA kitchens. Last but not least, it keeps a small number of popular items in stock for immediate pick-up or delivery.

modernash

Best Buy has installed vending machines at 8 major US airports. It’s a pilot program for the company’s new Best Buy Express kiosks, which are large vending machines that carry cell phone and computer accessories, digital cameras, flash drives, MP3 players, headphones, gaming devices, travel adapters, and other items that are likely to appeal to customers on the go. Prices are similar to those in Best Buy stores.
Best Buy is targeting travellers in search of last-minute gifts, as well as those who need a replacement for a gadget or accessory they forgot to pack or lost along the way. It’s an interesting move by Best Buy. The convenience factor is an obvious draw for travellers in a hurry, especially at airports with limited shopping options. But the branding on a vending machine by a well-known retailer is also a clear visual signal, instantly recognizable by consumers, which is a real advantage at busy and cluttered airports.

best buy vending

Internet Cities, Double Deckers in Japan, Art Ships, Publicis Chokes

  • “I propose that the Internet is the truest sense of the modern-day city. There are dense populations, a social infrastructure, complex architecture, rules, and culture. I will suggest that there is transportation as well as residences. Drawing mainly on the ideas of Jane Jacobs I will present the Internet as a modern day city that is governed under what I define as “Democratic Anarchy.”
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  • The double-decker Routemaster bus, a phased-out London icon, is gaining a second life in a Japanese city that believes the red road giant fits right in. Families and tourists snapped pictures as they queued up at a bus stop to hop onto a double-decker, which has been running on weekends since April in Shimonoseki, on the southern tip of Japan’s biggest island of Honshu. As a summer breeze wafted along the seafront, passengers waved to people on the streets below from the second level of the Routemaster, which stood out conspicuously in the city’s fleet of non-descript buses. “The scenery of this town is totally different when I see it from the second floor,” said Mayumi Nakamura, a 33-year-old housewife. “I hope the London bus will be a new symbol of Shimonoseki.”
  • Street artist Swoon has undertaken an ambitious art project named the Swimming Cities of Switchback Sea. Swoon and a motley crew of contributors have built a fleet of seven art boats that will journey down the Hudson river from Troy, New York, to Long Island City, Queens. Part floating city, part sculpture and part performance, the Switchback team will make stops at cities along the way, performing plays and music for locals. The ships will dock in Long Island City on September 7th for a run of shows until September 13th. The boats were constructed primarily out of found materials from junk yards and construction sites.
  • It isn’t called the “Insight Factory” anymore, but the integrated-agency model Publicis Groupe announced in November is reshaping the way the holding company handles some of its largest clients. Designed to foster greater cooperation between sibling agencies in different disciplines, the group has begun awarding ownership of some of its major accounts to individual shops. Nintendo, which uses Leo Burnett for creative, Starcom for media, Arc for promotional work and Digitas for digital, is now led exclusively by Starcom, with staffers at the other shops reporting directly to a Starcom lead. Kellogg, on the other hand, is now a Burnett-led business.