Buying floor art with your heart

IKEA found an emotional way of pulling the rug out from under opportunists.

When IKEA first launched a limited edition range of rugs designed by artists – including cult Louis Vuitton and Off White designer Virgil Abloh – people descended on its stores in a mob. And it turned out many of them were only there to buy a rug and resell it for a profit on eBay. To combat the problem, IKEA and Ogilvy Brussels created the (He)art Scanner. An EEG device tracked potential purchasers’ emotions as they gazed at the arty rugs in a special exhibition space. If their emotional response to a particular artwork was clearly positive, they could buy the rare rug. They were allowed to look at several rugs to find out which one rang their bell the loudest. This filter system cut out opportunists – and created a great PR story at the same time.