Ikea U.K. Hosts Sleepover at Store for 100 Facebook Fans

Fans Spend a Relaxing Night Surrounded by Retailer's Products

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Ikea has listened to what its customers want and given it to them -- a night in an Ikea store. Nearly 100,000 people signed up to a Facebook group called "I wanna have a sleepover in Ikea," and the dream came true for 100 lucky winners in the U.K., chosen at random from the 100,000 entrants.

Like at top night clubs, the late-November event had a minimum age of 25 and a strict dress code, although for this occasion it was pyjamas-only. At 8 p.m. on the dot, Ikea's guests ran into the store in Essex, in southeast England, like it was the first day of the sales, keen to bag the prime beds and the best linen choices.

Ikea sponsored a similar event in Australia in March, when it recruited "50 female flat-pack fans" on its Australian Facebook page for a night out of chick flicks, pampering massages and waiter service from handsome men -- along with the chance to assemble small pieces of furniture.

Both men and women were welcome at the U.K. sleepover, and they were given goodie bags containing an eye mask, windup flashlight, midnight snack, towel and slippers. Massages, manicures, and a movie were all on the entertainment agenda for the evening, with cocoa, cakes and nonalcoholic mulled wine available from the cafe. Guests could watch the film "Monsters Inc" from the comfort of their own beds, and to round off the evening, Ikea brought in a minor reality-TV celebrity to read a bedtime story: Goldilocks and the Three Bears.

A sleep expert was on hand with tips for getting a good night's rest, including how to test a mattress and choose the right bedding for your sleeping style. Ikea recently conducted a survey of 3,000 adults, finding that more than 70% don't think they get enough sleep. More important for the seller of beds and bed products, 72% spend less than 10 minutes selecting the mattress they'll probably sleep on for the next eight years. That's about the same amount of time they spend choosing their lunch each day.

Ikea turned the lights off at 11 p.m., and guests were awakened promptly at 6.30 a.m. by "soothing" sounds played over the Ikea speaker.

Not every Ikea would be likely to host a sleepover, but it's a clever way to get busy fans to focus on what Ikea has to offer.

Lois Blenkinsop, Ikea's U.K. PR and internal communications manager, said in a statement: "Social media has opened up a unique platform for us to interact directly with our customers. Listening to what they want is what we do best, and the Big Sleepover is just one example of how we're using such instant and open feedback to better inform our marketing activity."

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