Intellectual Property

Bilingual brands: Love in the time of IKEA

Agent AIKA, IKEA China, AIKA, AIJIA.jpg
Is IKEA china playing love games with its local competitor? IKEA opened its first store in China in 1998. AIKA, one of its biggest local competitors, uses a brand name that is disturbingly similar to that of the Swedish giant.

Things get even worse when looking at the two companies’ local brand names. IKEA’s Chinese name is YiJia (宜家), meaning something along the lines of “a proper home”. AIKA’s Chinese name is AiJia (爱家), meaning a “loving home” or “love home”. It sounds almost the same as IKEA’s YiJia, but adds the “love” element.

A few weeks ago, IKEA opened a new store in Beijing. The campaign to promote the new store features a new catchphrase - AiDeXinTiYan (爱的新体验). The official English version is “more to love” but the literal translation is closer to “a new experience of love”. Some may see this as IKEA’s jab at AIKA, trying to appropriate the local competitor’s signature emotion.

But it seems that IKEA is not the only one chipping away at AIKA’s brand name. AIKA is also the name of a famous Japanese anime star. Absolute Anime, a site containing detailed information about anime characters, describes AIKA as:

"a secret agent with the skills, the wits, and the little surprises to take on the impossible... Agent Aika is an action adventure full of pretty ladies, guns, action, drama, and a definite emphasis on the ladies: tons of panty shots and more than a little skin."

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There are currently 2 Comments for Bilingual brands: Love in the time of IKEA.

Comments on Bilingual brands: Love in the time of IKEA

nice analysis.
Do you have more of these examples: I am studying the brand and promotion policies and tactics of companies in China, especially the cultural link.
If you have more examples I would appreciate to receive.
Can mail to ronnyverlet@hotmail.com

What about all the clones of foreign products that are proliferating China?

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