Today's L.A. Times' biz section
touts a new and improbable addition to Burbank's media studios -- the
IKEA store on San Fernando Road. After listing some odd and varied
appearances that IKEA made in the news during the past year from China to Scotland, writer Dan Neil looks at the role
of IKEA's Burbank location has played in the viral spread of company ads and Web
IKEA has shot its spoofy Web TV series Easy to Assemble featuring
actress Illeana Douglas there; a key scene with Zooey Deschanel and
Joseph Gordon-Levitt plays out in the same locale in the film (500) Days of Summer, and the prankish video project, The Real World: IKEA,
was secretly shot at the Burbank store and featured "cast members
bickering screaming obscenities at one another" -- until one actor
removes his clothes and the real-world police are called in. Neil
reports this project has earned more than 136,000 YouTube viewings.
An even edgier satire/IKEA homage taped at the Burbank store is IKEA
Heights, a multi-episode online soap opera that is also shot guerrilla-style
there without IKEA's okay. "Marketers who would capitalize on
user-generated content," Neil points out, "must also be prepared to let
the inmates run the asylum."
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No word yet if there'll be any projects involving the character of IKEA's founder, Ingvar Kamprad,
Europe's richest man who, as a teenager during World War II, belonged
to a pro-Nazi Swedish group. Perhaps a playful mockumentary could be
called Achtung, IKEA Shoppers!