IKEA made a parody ad that took a swipe at the cost of metal benches at Singapore bus stops. Now, the Land Transport Authority (LTA) has fired back.
The Swedish furniture giant, whose ads have often spoofed or ribbed local news happenings, put up an ad on its Facebook page on 11 October, after 22-year-old Tan Ke Wei was sentenced in the State Courts on 9 October to a seven-day short detention order for stealing a metal bench from a bus stop along Braddell Road.
The news of his sentencing was shared on social media, as netizens zoomed in on the cost of the bus-stop bench, which LTA said in court documents cost S$1,500.
In its ad, IKEA showcased a picture of its “Industriell” bench in light grey, priced at S$159. This was coupled with the caption, “Bring home a way more affordable bench from our store (not the bus stop)”.
The LTA swiped back in a Facebook post dated 19 October, saying that, while IKEA’s bench was “nice”, it unfortunately could not use it, as its bus stop benches need to be made of hardy materials that can last for more than 20 years.
It then hash-tagged #YouGetWhatYouPayFor, implying that the high cost of the benches were justified.
LTA also released a statement on 19 October, saying that there are around 5,000 bus stops in Singapore of various designs, and all the benches are expected to last at least 20 years with minimum maintenance.
Depending on the materials and features, they cost between S$500 and S$1,500, excluding installation costs. Older benches are made from concrete and stainless steel, while newer benches are made with aluminium.
In the case of the stolen bus stop bench, it had cost around S$1,300 with an installation cost of about S$200.
IKEA was not the only brand to poke fun of the bench-stealing incident. Local budget airline Scoot also took the chance to sell its “Great Seats At A Steal”, with the word “Benches” slashed and replaced with Seats.