Corporate Love Story

25 01 2010

Corporations take great care to develop, protect and nurture their brands, but what happens when customers co-opt the brand and use it for their own purposes? In a rather glaring example, David Seger has been secretly filming a soap opera called “IKEA Heights” inside a large IKEA store in California. To date, they have six episodes (http://www.ikeaheights.com/). IKEA’s official stance on this project is that they consider it an unauthorized use of their retail space, but they’re not exactly clamping down on Seger and his band of actors.

Of course, this isn’t the only example. A kid in New York (Nicholi White) records himself lipsyncing to popular songs at Apple stores around the city. You can see some samples from Mahalo. What is a company to do? Sure user-generated buzz is a good thing, but what if things go wrong? Could the brand/company end up tarnished as a result? Will this encourage future “unauthorized” uses of company property and retail space? Should we care?

In the end maybe we should remember: It’s okay to love IKEA, but it’s not okay to love in an IKEA.

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