IKEA hit the news headlines in Australia last week with its print campaign in Fairfax newspapers the Sydney Morning Herald. The print ad, featured in the Sydney Morning Herald and The Age, shows an image of a red JERRIK swivel chair with arm rests at only $569, with the words in bold, “We respectfully ask Prime Minister John Howard to sit on it.”
The finer print: “Prime Minister John Howard wants to spend almost $3000 on a single chair while this one here offers quality, design and comfort for only $569. In fact, our range of chairs starts from as low as $12.95. Surely that would make us the preferred choice.”
The IKEA print advertisement was placed in response to revelations in the Australian federal Senate that the Federal Government had bought a new set of executive chairs at a cost to taxpayers of $200,000 – or just under $3000 per chair.
IKEA took Liberal backbencher Don Randall to task after he tried to defend the Prime Minister, claiming that Mr Howard should not have to buy the chain’s “dodgy” chairs instead of spending $200,000 on plush seating.
Mr Howard also was forced to cancel a planned $540,000 taxpayer-funded upgrade of his private dining room in Parliament House after the figure was revealed during estimates hearings.