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Ad Agency's IKEA Website a Viral Hit

Gatesman+Dave, Inc.(NEW YORK) -- Swedish company IKEA is famous for its do-it-yourself home furnishings and its Swedish meatballs. And now an ad agency has created a viral Internet sensation poking fun at its unpronounceable product names, quizzing visitors on whether a word is the name of furniture or a death metal band.

The website launched this week by Pittsburgh ad agency Gatesman+Dave, Inc. Visitors are shown words like "VITTSJÖ" and asked, "Is it IKEA furniture or a death metal band? Choose one." (Spoiler alert: Vittsjö is the name for an IKEA shelving unit system.)

The site has about 2 million hits so far and averages about 15,000 visitors at once, the company says.

While the site is a great way to give the 42-person firm exposure for business, that wasn't the initial intent, explains Mike Wellman, senior multimedia programmer. "We liked just the idea and shareability behind it and it's a fun way for people to engage," Wellman explained.

Jeff Barton, associate creative director, said it all started with a simple trip to IKEA to buy furniture for the company's war room, where brainstorming takes place. Barton explains that he brought along his colleague, Sam Panico, senior copywriter, who had never been to IKEA before. "I was giving him the experience, but he is the metal head and got the idea," Barton said.

Many names of IKEA products don't really use the equivalent Swedish words for the furniture, reported last month. For example, "strapats" describes one of IKEA's garbage cans, but the word is translated into "hardship."

Panico explains that heavy metal music and IKEA come from the same region of the world but have strong contrasts. "IKEA is bright and everybody is smiling," Panico said. "Metal is dark and mean."

People from about 30 countries have visited the website, with help after it was posted on the social media site Reddit.

The company hopes the popularity of the site will encourage clients to create similar highly engaged campaigns for them.

What does IKEA think of the site? Mona Liss, a spokeswoman for IKEA, didn't respond to whether the company would hire Gatesman+Dave.

"IKEA has no involvement in the quiz created by Gatesman and Dave," she said in a statement. "The names of IKEA products are derived from Swedish words to reflect our heritage."

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