Posts Tagged ‘Franowo’

IKEA Tram Triumph

Wednesday, 29 August 2012

Is it a Victorian conservatory? No it’s a tram. Photo IKEA.

(Click image to enlarge.)

I am off to Poznan to sink into a comfortable arm chair, enjoy the décor of Victorian floral prints, and travel by tram free of charge. That I can do all three at the same time time is the brilliant PR brainwave of IKEA whose Poznan Franowo store 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 West, IKEA stores have a distinctly ‘up-market’ brand image in Poland and other former Soviet satellites in the East. Here 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.

The Victorian floral print style. Photo courtesy Laura Ashley.

(Click image to browse the Laura Ashley catalogue where the original photo appears. Click here to enlarge image.)

I must admit that Victorian floral prints give me the goose bumps. I am immediately transported to the 1960s. Hands up those BTWT readers who remember the Cambrian Coast Express steaming past the Laura Ashley factory on the site of Carno Station or the pioneering Laura Ashley store in South Kensington’s Pelham St? What, only one hand? Never mind, what Laura Ashley sells to the classes, IKEA sells to the masses, to paraphrase that amazing consumer electronics entrepreneur, Jack Tramiel.

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.

The on- tram ad says Przyjedz do nas tramwajem (Come to us by tram). Photo IKEA.

(Click image to enlarge.)

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 win for both sides. Brilliant! Many thanks to Podroznik for tipping us off about the story.