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Originally published September 28, 2007 at 12:00 AM | Page modified September 28, 2007 at 2:02 AM

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Retail Report

Advertising on the go attracts notice

An elaborate window display hardly seems like the best use of your marketing dollars if you're a retailer in a massive, out-of-the-way warehouse...

Seattle Times business reporters

An elaborate window display hardly seems like the best use of your marketing dollars if you're a retailer in a massive, out-of-the-way warehouse in Renton. But Ikea has found a way to put its window display wherever it wants.

Kent-based GoMobile Advertising, which operates eye-catching trucks with floor-to-ceiling windows measuring 6-feet-by-10-feet, has been hired to support the Renton store's push to sell trendy bedroom furniture to teens.

Over the next six weeks, one of its trucks will be at Friday night football games, fast-food restaurants near high schools, and just about anywhere else that Seattle-area teens hang out. Passers-by will see Ikea's version of a typical teenage bedroom inside, complete with bunk bed, couch and desk.

The hope is that teens who see the truck will want to redecorate their bedrooms with Ikea furniture, said store spokeswoman Rebecka Helen-Wilson.

As part of its push, the store next month will open a lounge for teens with sale items, as well as computers for their personal use. She said the store historically has paid more attention to young children than teens, but now that the local store is 13 — Ikea opened in Renton in 1994 — it wants to turn that around.

Teens represent a formidable market, with "a lot of money to spend," she said. "Plus, they don't have to pay a mortgage and all that fun stuff."

Ikea has used GoMobile in the past to promote its catalog, she said, and considers it a "new, fun and interesting way to reach customers."

Founded two years ago, GoMobile operates a total of four trucks in the Seattle area, charging $25,000 to $50,000 for a typical one or two-month campaign, said marketing director Ryan Moss. (It also has sold trucks to more than 50 affiliates in North America to help clients mount similar campaigns elsewhere. Its trucks are made in South Florida and include an eight-speaker sound system, FM radio broadcasting and scrolling billboards.)

Seattle-based Safeco has a GoMobile truck that travels to local sporting events, concerts and insurance agents' offices. Inside, a scooter, a chair and a cello are propped on pedestals to make the point that just about anything can be insured.

This week, Horizon Air rolled out a GoMobile truck, to promote flights between Seattle and Portland. The truck, seen daily on Interstate 5, features a beleaguered-looking mannequin holding a gas can in one hand and restroom key in the other, as if stranded on the highway.

Moss pointed out that the trucks run on biodiesel, a renewable fuel source. "We figure that if we're going to be sitting in traffic for the purpose of advertising, we should do everything we can to reduce our environmental footprint," he said.

— Amy Martinez

Tidbits

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Trabant Coffee and Chai opened a second coffee house this week in Pioneer Square. It includes a 27-foot-long zebrawood counter that is below waist level, allowing customers and baristas to interact more easily. Trabant's first location opened in the University District in 2003. — MA

What the Pho! , which has operated in Bellevue since 2004, will open its second restaurant in Bothell's Canyon Park Shopping Center next week. Pho, which is pronounced "fuh," is a traditional Vietnamese noodle soup that can include meat, vegetables, fresh basil leaves and other ingredients. — MA

City Hardware plans to open Oct. 19 at Ninth Avenue and Harrison Street in Seattle's South Lake Union neighborhood, for all the new condo owners downtown. It promotes itself as locally owned, dog-friendly and environmentally conscious. — AM

A government-run cafe has opened in the former Starbucks in Beijing's Forbidden City, Xinhua news agency reported. Called "Forbidden City Café," it is managed by the people who oversee the historic site. Starbucks operated there for seven years but closed this summer after months of criticism from a Chinese TV personality and others who said its presence marred the site's solemnity. — MA

Seattle-based Affirmagy , which sells blankets with inspirational messages, hopes to raise money next month to fight breast cancer by promising to donate $7.99 for every $39.95 purchase of a pink "Courage" wrap and "Chicken Soup for the Breast Cancer Survivor's Soul" book. Donations will go to Susan G. Komen for the Cure in recognition of National Breast Cancer Awareness Month next month. The blanket's sayings include "I will not give up" and "My courage makes me brave." To learn more, go to www.affirmagy.com. — AM

Ashwood Urban Market opened last month in the 27-story apartment and retail complex called Ashwood Commons in Bellevue. The year-old building is best known for its apartments, called "989 elements." The 1,200-square-foot market sells gourmet food, including wine, cheese and chocolates and has a Boar's Head brand deli serving made-to-order sandwiches. — MA

Amazon.com is looking to hire more than 250 full-time and part-time employees at its customer-service center in Kennewick, Benton County, for the 2007 holiday season. New hires are paid $9.50 an hour and receive an additional $1 hourly for working in October, November and December. Applications are available at Kennewick's WorkSource office or at Amazon's Kennewick location at 7011 West Canal Dr. Also, applications are online at www.amazon.com/careers. — AM

Alvin Goldfarb Jeweler will have a watch worn by Clark Gable, Madonna's wedding tiara and a piece of Princess Diana's jewelry at the opening of its downtown Seattle store next month. At 6th Avenue and Union Street, the store is an expansion for Alvin Goldfarb, which has been in Bellevue for 27 years. Opening celebrations are Oct. 8-12. — AM

An espresso how-to book by David Schomer, founder of Espresso Vivace, is now available in Japanese. It is sold through Vivace's Web site, where the English version of "Espresso Coffee: Professional Techniques" retails for $27.95. The site also includes Schomer's video courses for training baristas and doing latte art. — MA

Retail Report appears Fridays. Melissa Allison covers the food and beverage industry. She can be reached at 206-464-3312 or mallison@seattletimes.com. Amy Martinez covers goods, services and online retail. She can be reached at 206-464-2923 or amartinez@seattletimes.com

Copyright © 2007 The Seattle Times Company

About Retail Report
Retail Report is a look at the trends, issues and people who makeup the dynamic and versatile retail sector throughout the Puget Sound region. Every Friday with Melissa Allison and Amy Martinez. Send tips or comments to mallison@seattletimes.com or amartinez@seattletimes.com.

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