Dynamic Marketing Communiqué

Mistaken for a retail store’s staff member? Awkward… Check out this company’s solution to this problem! [Thursdays: Gorillas of Guerrilla Marketing]

February 23, 2023

Miles Everson’s Business Builder Daily speaks to the heart of what great marketers, business leaders, and other professionals need to succeed in advertising, communications, managing their investments, career strategy, and more.

A Note from Miles Everson:

Are you familiar with “Guerrilla Marketing?”

For those of you who aren’t yet, guerrilla marketing is an unconventional, engaging, and impactful marketing strategy.

Campaigns of this type serve as reminders that promoting or advertising a brand doesn’t always have to be too complex, formal, or traditional.

In today’s article, we’d like to share with you an example of a clever guerrilla marketing stunt.

Keep reading to know how this furniture retail company turned a common source of confusion among its customers into a fun and memorable marketing strategy.

Miles Everson
CEO, MBO Partners
Chairman of the Advisory Board, The I Institute

Gorillas of Guerrilla Marketing

Have you ever experienced going into a grocery store or department store then suddenly, another customer asks you where a certain product is located or if a specific product still has stocks?

That person probably thought you’re an employee in that store!

If you’ve experienced that, don’t worry. You’re not alone.

In fact, there’s this furniture retail company that often receives reports about some of its customers being mistaken for store employees.

What’s that company?


Photo from IKEA

IKEA is a multinational conglomerate that designs and sells ready-to-assemble furniture, kitchen appliances, decorations, home accessories, and other products. Established in 1943, the company has been the world’s largest furniture retailer since 2008.

The brand is primarily known for its modernist designs on various appliances and furniture, and its interior design work is often associated with simplicity and minimalism.

Additionally, IKEA is known for its attention to cost control, operational details, and consistent product development. These enable the brand to lower its prices for an average of 2% to 3%.

Never Wear Yellow in IKEA

If you’ve ever been to an IKEA store and unintentionally worn a yellow shirt or dress, chances are you’d blend in with the store’s staff… and be actually mistaken by other customers as part of the workforce!

In January 2022, an IKEA brand in Al-Futtaim, Dubai received such reports. It was the sale season and the foot traffic in the store increased by 600%. That time, many customers were confused and clueless on where they could find the products they were looking for.

Their knee-jerk reaction?

They approached the nearest person who wore yellow to ask for directions!

Photo from YouTube

Some of them were lucky to have asked the right people—meaning the actual staff… but for others, they had to ask for apologies as they mistook a fellow customer for an employee.

IKEA Al-Futtaim’s management team knew this kind of confusion was common in the store, especially during sale seasons. So, to turn this issue into something customers could have fun with, the company decided to make a guerrilla marketing campaign out of it.

Enter the “Co-Worker For the Day” campaign…

Photo from Retaildxb

From January 26 to 29, 2022, IKEA Al-Futtaim rewarded customers who unintentionally wore yellow: By inviting them to become “employees for the day” and giving them discounts on their purchases.

Here’s how the campaign played out:

Every time someone who wore yellow entered the store, IKEA’s staff would ask that person if he or she was willing to be a co-worker for the day. If that person agreed, he or she would be handed out an IKEA ID and asked to download IKEA’s mobile app.

Afterwards, he or she could start assisting fellow customers with their inquiries.

You might be wondering: How could these people answer other customers’ inquiries when they were only asked to help out on the spot, with no proper training and all?

That’s why they were asked to download the company’s mobile app before they started their jobs as co-workers. The software had a database of over 9,000 products, and by scanning the QR code attached on a product display, these co-workers were able to explain the product’s features, if it still had available stocks, where it was located, etc.

Photo from Campaign Middle East

Awesome, right?

Then, at the end of the day, it was the co-workers’ time to shop for items and as a reward for their hard work, they received discounts on their purchases.

Photo from Ogilvy

Was IKEA’s “Co-Worker For the Day” campaign effective?

Throughout the 3-day guerrilla marketing campaign, IKEA Al-Futtaim was able to turn yellow shirts into an asset during one of its busiest seasons. Additionally, the company was able to promote its mobile app and increase its customer retention rates.

Here are the results of the campaign:

  • A total of 87 yellow-shirted customers volunteered to be IKEA Al-Futtaim’s co-workers for the day during the 3-day guerrilla marketing strategy, and 3 of them became full-time employees.
  • By the end of January 2022, IKEA Al-Futtaim recorded over 85,000 mobile app downloads because many of those who shopped at the time of the campaign saw how useful it was.
  • The “Co-Worker For the Day” campaign garnered over 3 million social media impressions throughout its run.
  • During the 3-day campaign, there was a 4.3% increase in foot traffic in IKEA Al-Futtaim.
  • The “Co-Worker For the Day” campaign contributed a 3% increase in revenue for IKEA Al-Futtaim in January 2022.
  • The campaign was shortlisted at the Gerety Awards in June 2022.

Kudos, IKEA Al-Futtaim! These results show the “Co-Worker For the Day” campaign achieved its objective not just in turning customers’ awkward encounters into a good asset but also in showcasing the perks of having the IKEA mobile app.


As a business owner, leader, manager, or marketer, one of the things you can learn from this guerrilla marketing strategy is problems or awkward encounters can be one of your brand’s greatest assets if you’re creative enough to properly take advantage of them.

In IKEA Al-Futtaim’s case, using the problem of yellow-shirted customers being mistaken for salespeople became an opportunity to:

  • Create a campaign in the midst of a busy sales season
  • Temporarily strengthen its workforce
  • Promote the IKEA mobile app
  • Increase customer loyalty
  • Use the color yellow to make a lasting brand recall among customers

This strategy became a win for everybody because it removed the embarrassment and annoyance customers felt for unintentionally wearing yellow, and at the same time, it enabled IKEA to use various elements (app, yellow, co-workers, etc.) to leave a lasting impression on shoppers.

We hope you gained useful insights from today’s guerrilla marketing example!

Unleash your creativity and, like IKEA, turn a common “epic fail” into one of your brand’s strongest “marketing weapons!”

(This article is from The Business Builder Daily, a newsletter by The I Institute in collaboration with MBO Partners.)

About The Dynamic Marketing Communiqué’s
“Thursdays: Gorillas of Guerrilla Marketing”

Jay Conrad Levinson (1984) said that Guerrilla Marketing “works because it’s simple to appreciate, easy to execute, and inexpensive.”

Guerrilla Marketing is unconventional.

Looking beyond the traditional ways of advertising, marketers, and advertisers need to spice things up in order for their brand to have campaigns that not only make an impact but also stick to their target market’s mind.

Guerrilla Marketing usually aims to have direct contact with consumers.

This type of direct contact should spark an emotional reaction that leads to consumers effectively remembering the brand.

It’s about making a big impression and making that impression last a long time (if not forever).

Guerrilla Marketing can be inexpensive.

The effect of this is being able to create a buzz around the brand, and the strategy used to market it. Almost everything is passed around through word-of-mouth.

Word-of-mouth is one of the greatest outcomes and it usually doesn’t cost anything.

This is every business’ or brand’s dream!

Every Thursday, we publish tips, examples, and other useful content on unconventional ways of marketing and promotion.

Learn more about how to grab your target market’s attention and make an amazing first and lasting impression without having to spend a lot of money.

Businesses don’t really need to spend much for a guerrilla campaign. You do not need a big budget to be successful. You just need creativity and a good imagination.

Hope you’ve found this week’s guerrilla marketing insight interesting and helpful.

Stay tuned for next Thursday’s Gorillas of Guerrilla Marketing!


Kyle Yu
Head of Marketing
Valens Dynamic Marketing Capabilities
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