IKEA Shark Plushies Flattened To Demonstrate Vacuum-Sealed Bags
If you’re a frequent visitor to IKEA for other reasons besides eating, you may have noticed these cute shark plushies being sold.
The shark’s name is BLÅHAJ, and he’s gained quite a following across the world.
So when IKEA Hong Kong decided to squash him flat for a display of vacuum-sealed bags, the result was unsurprisingly horrifying.
While some netizens expressed pity for them, many saw the funny side, comparing the flattened plushies to dried fish.
IKEA shark plushies used in display
Netizen Otis Leung shared the eye-catching sight in the 鯊魚俱樂部┌(。Д。)┐ Facebook group, a fan group for BLÅHAJ.
From the photos, it looks like the plushies were used by IKEA HK to demonstrate the effectiveness of the SPANTAD vacuum-sealed bags.
Incidentally, they’re available in IKEA Singapore for S$4.90 per set of 2.
According to the photos, in IKEA HK, they go for S$4.31 (HK$24.90) a set (why is everything always more expensive in Singapore?), with a 15% discount if you buy 3.
And as the sharks have sacrificed themselves to show, they’re incredibly good at what they do.
Some netizens sympathise; others see funny side
Mr Leung sympathised with the sharks, exclaiming how “tragic” their fate was.
Another netizen even said she wanted to “save” the sharks.
Others saw the funny side, with one remarking that it looked like a scene from a wholesale seafood centre.
Many comments made reference to dried shark fish, a common Asian delicacy.
It looks like poor BLÅHAJ may soon be dried and prepared for consumption.
BLÅHAJ has wide-ranging appeal
By the way, don’t underestimate BLÅHAJ’s appeal.
The fact that he has a fan group means he’s become a star in his own right, and fans love to pose him for Insta-worthy photos.
People also like to post photos of him doing “human things” like eating dinner or erm, paying respects to ancestors.
It looks like the plushie has a wide-ranging appeal to adults and kids.
We guess that’s why people can’t bear to see him getting flattened.
News of discontinuation caused meltdown
As an example of BLÅHAJ’s enduring popularity, Chinese social media went into a meltdown due to an otherwise-innocuous tweet by IKEA UK in Sep 2021.
The now-deleted tweet had claimed that the plushie “is set to be discontinued from April 2022”.
It prompted more than 10,000 discussion threads on Weibo, and spurred at least 1 fan to head out to IKEA to buy a plushie before they disappeared.
A Change.org petition was even created to save the cuddly shark from “extinction”. It currently has 6,585 signatures.
In case you’re suddenly feeling like getting a BLÅHAJ for yourself too, don’t panic—it’s currently available at IKEA Singapore for S$29.90.
Interesting marketing strategy
While it’s uncertain whether BLÅHAJ will really be discontinued or not, it’s evident that the shark is really popular.
Thus, we’re not sure whether IKEA HK’s marketing strategy of flattening him to promote vacuum-sealed bags will go down well with customers.
At least they’ve achieved their aim of generating buzz over social media.
Hopefully, IKEA will carry the plushies for many more years to come.
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Featured image adapted from Otis Leung on Facebook.
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