Scandinavian flat-pack retailer Ikea rethought their iconic FRAKTA shopping bag by printing a set of lines on the inside of each bag turning it from “just” a bag into a private brand product with endless possibilities. It’s pretty much reflecting what the entire product range of IKEA promises. People were now able to turn the bag into items like a baby bib or an apron, picnic mats and even fun items like pet raincoats and camel mounts. The small change by Dubai-based agency Memac Ogilvy & Mather turned a functional product into an effective communication medium without a significant increase in production costs. It communicated IKEA’s core philosophy of making more from less effectively. On top of that, it encouraged its audience to share their own ideas with other consumers and the brand. The strategy was simple: turn IKEA’s biggest seller into a high reach medium that our audience could interact with.

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Christopher Durham is the president of My Private Brand and the co-founder of The Vertex Awards. He is a strategist, author, consultant and retailer who built brands at Delhaize-owned Food Lion, and lead strategy and brand development for Lowe’s Home Improvement. He has consulted with retailers around the world on their private brand portfolios including: Family Dollar, Petco, Staples, Office Depot, Best Buy, Metro (Canada), TLW (Taiwan) and Hola (Taiwan). Durham has published five definitive books on private brands, including his first book, Fifty2: The My Private Brand Project. In 2017, he will debut his newest book, Vanguard: Vintage Originals, a visual tour of innovation and disruption in private brand going back to the mid-1800’s. Dynamic in his presentation while down to earth and frank in his opinions, he has presented at numerous conferences, including FUSE, The Dieline Conference, Packaging that Sells, Omnishopper and PLMA’a annual trade show in Chicago. Durham lives in Charlotte, NC with his wife, Laraine, and two daughters, Olivia and Sarah.