Ikea sold these rugs only to people who loved them

Retailer's 'He(art) Scanner read consumers' brain waves and heart rate before they were allowed to buy

Published On
May 17, 2019

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For five years running, Ikea has debuted its annual “Art Collection,” a series of products on which it collaborates with famous and up and coming artists and designers. This year, the collection's focus was on rugs and comprised a breathtaking lineup from Louis Vuitton artistic director and Off-White founder Virgil Abloh; Japanese installation artist Misaki Kawai; U.K. fashion designer Craig Green; NYC artists Noah Lyon and Chiaozzo; Korean textile artist Seulgi Lee; Poland’s Filip Pagowski—the man behind Commes de Garcons’ heart logo and French multidisciplinary artist. Supakitch. 

Thing is, the rugs were available only to people who truly loved them.

In a campaign from Ogilvy Social Lab Brussels, the brand created special “He(art) Scanner” that tracked shoppers’ brainwaves and heart rates when they observed each rug. If the scanners read excitement, or even love, the customers were then given the option to purchase the piece. If not, they were sent along to the next product in the lineup.

In the past, Ikea had seen pieces of such collections purchased, and then immediately thrown up for sale at marked up prices on auction sites. The point of this effort was to maintain Ikea’s m.o. of being accessible to all, yet with the requirement that those who purchase the products would truly appreciate them. Ikea held the special "He(art) Scanner" sales event last week at one of its stores in Anderlecht, Belgium.

While it may have worked in that town, that hasn't stopped buyers elsewhere from trying to profit from the pieces. The Virgil Abloh rug, for example, is now going for about $1,100 on resale sites