TOKYO: In an era of exponential media proliferation, standing out in the crowd is increasingly difficult. But IKEA Japan has seized the gauntlet with its highly innovative variant on transport advertising.

In-train ads are common the world over. And it's not unusual for a single advertiser to book all available ad space on a train, bus or other public transport.

IKEA, however, has gone several steps further to promote its new megastore in the city of Kobe.

According to Tokyo-based US marketing consultant Mike Fiorella, who also authors Japan Marketing News, IKEA asked itself: "Why not leverage its expertise in interior design to deliver a genuine brand experience, rather than a mere barrage of posters and such?"

It did exactly that by ad-jacking a train on the Kobe Port Liner Loop Line and filled some of the standard ad frames with its own messages. 

Better yet, it replaced the train's standard window shades with those from its own stores, converted the seats to sofas with IKEA brand upholstery, and added wall coverings.

Fiorella reposts that the concomitant buzz is pervasive – not only among commuters but also within traditional Japanese news outlets and online.

Data sourced from Japan Marketing News; additional content by WARC staff