I like to see smaller companies with big ideas. I like to see disruption and distinctness. It seems that with every passing day, it becomes a little bit more difficult to come up with something original. However, here is a company that did. Upwell, a design studio out of San Francisco, CA, decided to conduct its market research a bit differently than typically recommended. Forget the numbers and forget the surveys – this tactic falls more along the lines of reaching out directly to potential customers.

Upwell has a product named Walhub. It sticks into your outlet and allows for the storage of commonly shifted (and misplaced) things such as mail, keys, scarves, etc. Useful? Definitely. But Upwell, directed by Justin Porcano, wondered if people would actually be interested in buying the product.

So, rather than setting up the parameters of their own research, they went with a place that naturally fit. IKEA.

By dressing up as an IKEA employee, Porcano was able to enter the store and place the Walhub product in it natural habitat. With a tag and barcode classifying the item as a new addition to the IKEA family, along with appending an umlaut to the name of the product for credibility, store visitors had no way of distinguishing the product’s foreignness.

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What followed was a depiction of great interest in the product from those visiting the store. Many consumers took the item to the cash register for purchase, only to find out (after moments of confusion) that the product was not from IKEA and could be taken home for free. At the end of the day, this hack is not only an effective way of discovering whether there is interest in the product, but it also (a) facilitated distribution of the product (which leads to WOM) and (b) garnered attention from IKEA, which might show interest in incorporating the product in its line of offerings.

Most importantly, the video is making its way across the Internet. And Upwell has proven itself as innovative, creative and simply fun.

Image source: Youtube.com