IKEA BLAHAJ Shark plush toys seated around a table with Nintendo Switch controllers placed in front of them.

IKEA BLÅHAJ Shark

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Updated Sep 28, 2021 at 03:40PM EDT by Philipp.

Added Sep 27, 2021 at 02:07PM EDT by Philipp.

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About

IKEA Shark, known officially as BLÅHAJ, is a plush shark toy sold by Swedish furniture store IKEA. Gaining initial popularity on Tumblr in 2014 when it was first introduced, in 2018 the shark achieved viral status in Russia with people sharing photographs of the plushie in various scenarios. The trend later spread globally, with the toy achieving cult popularity in many countries in the late 2010s and early 2020s.

Origin

In early 2014, IKEA furniture stores started selling BLÅHAJ (sw. blue shark), a plush shark toy (images shown below).[1]



The plush toy first achieved online attention on November 13th, 2014, when Tumblr[2] account sharkhugger posted a photograph of six plush sharks arranged as if sitting at a table. The post gained over 5,520 likes and reblogs in seven years (shown below).


For your business too. IKEA furnishings and sccessories are p business tool Get everything you nead roof. Together with our delivery, a installation services, you'l be wll n making your vislon a reality. IKEA BU IKEA.co.u/n 100 PATRIK 100

Spread

On May 29th, 2015, Change.org[3] user Winifred Wetherbee started a petition to IKEA to bring back BLÅHAJ to its stores, citing that "It's been the subject of many cute photosets, an adorable bed-time cuddle buddy for many, and has touched our hearts." The petition was signed by 615 supporters before ending.

On February 20th, 2016, Tumblr[4] user sharkhugger posted screenshots of four snaps of the shark captioned "Whatever." The post received over 640 likes and reblogs in five years (shown below, left). On May 11th, 2016, Tumblr user xenocrisi posted an edited image of seven BLÅHAJ sharks watching the High School Fleet anime series (original and edited image shown below, center and right). The post received over 33,000 likes and reblogs in five years.


Whatever Whatever Whatever Whatever

These initial posts spawned a trend of posting humorous photographs of BLÅHAJ sharks in which they are depicted performing various human activities, such as working, reading or eating. Between 2016 and 2018, a number of such photographs were posted to Tumblr and Instagram with the hashtags #ikeashark and #blahaj.

Popularity in Russia

On April 2nd, 2018, Pikabu user Alterway posted[5] a collection of six BLÅHAJ images, including the 2016 post by sharkhugger. The collection received over 2,300 upvotes in three years. On April 4th, Russian website Twizz[6] posted a collection of 18 BLÅHAJ images (examples shown below).


ELDA DODM

The April 2018 posts served as a catalyst for the massive popularization of BLÅHAJ shark toys in Russia, which achieved its peak in October 2018 with users posting photographs of the sharks to Instagram tagged with the #ikeashark hashtag. On Twitter, users posted that the massive hype surrounding the toy shark triggered shortages. For example, on October 12th, 2018, Pikabu[7] user anprius posted a photograph of a man, likely a scalper, laden with dozens of sharks leaving an IKEA store. On October 20th, 2018, Twitter[8] user @martin_camera wrote that the sharks were sold out within one hour after a new supply arrived at one IKEA store (image shown below, left).

In late October 2018, Russian media outlets, including TJ[9] and Memepedia,[10] reported on the trend.


NGA

Global Popularity

Following the initial popularity of the shark toy on Tumblr and its explosive popularity in Russia, in the late 2010s, BLÅHAJ gradually established its presence on Tumblr as a subject of memes and fan art, particularly on Tumblr and Reddit. On February 10th, 2018, the /r/BLAHAJ[11] subreddit was launched, gaining over 22,800 subscribers in three years.

On February 4th, 2020, Tumblr[12] user arielle-one-a-day posted a GIF of two BLÅHAJ sharks kissing that gained over 150 likes and reblogs (shown below, left). On April 13th, 2020, Tumblr[13] user alex-shinda posted a Naruto fan art that gained over 410 likes and reblogs in one year (shown below, right).



On Tumblr, BLÅHAJ gained an association with the LGBTQ+ and transgender community in particular, which is reflected in multiple memes posted on both Tumblr[14] and Reddit in the late 2010s (examples shown below, left and right). For example, on September 6th, 2021, Twitter[20] user @TheWerelizard tweeted an official advertisement by IKEA in which BLÅHAJ was used to express support for LGBTQ+.


JUNE YOUVE GOTTA GOTTA ACCEPT YOUR TRANSNESS TO NOT DROWN IN THE BLAHAJ PILE

Boys With Plush Sharks

On June 19th, 2021, a 2018 photograph of five young men with BLÅHAJ sharks descending an escalator in the Moscow metro, captioned "me and the boys coming back from ikea (we all bought sharks)" went viral on social media with multiple reposts[15][16][17] (shown below, left).

In late June 2021, the photograph also inspired redraws. For example, on June 19th, Twitter[18] user @AimRhytm posted a Haikyuu!! redraw that gained over 11,100 retweets and 11,900 likes in three months (shown below, center). On June 20th, Twitter[19] user @olldolldraws posted a My Hero Academia redraw that received over 3,000 retweets and 15,100 likes in the same period (shown below, right).


FUKU ODAN FUKUROD FUKURODANI UKURO DAN

Discontinuation in the UK

On September 26th, 2021, IKEA UK[21] replied to an inquiry regarding the BLÅHAJ toy missing from IKEA's website, writing that there were supply issues and that the toy would be discontinued in the United Kingdom in April 2022 (tweet shown below).


Daf (he/him/e/fe) @heyimdaf - Sep 22 ... @IKEAUKSupport help! Where has blahaj gone from the website? :( 374 IKEA UK Support O @IKEAUKSupport · Sep 24 Hi, sorry for the delay in my reply. Unfortunately, the 303.735.88 BLÅHAJ soft toy shark is currently out of stock and we do not yet have any information if this will return. This is due to a supply issue. Please keep checking online periodically. ... KEA Thanks - Heather 30 27 374 773 fry Hi Heather, tell your superiors people want Blåhaj to return. Thanks! @justarandomfry · Sep 25 ... 2 27 4 732 IKEA UK Support @IKEAUKSupport ... KEA Replying to @justarandomfry and @heyimdaf Hello. I'm sorry that BLAHAJ isn't available at the moment, due to supply issues. It may only be available for a short period of time as it is set to be discontinued from April 2022. I shall log your comments in relation to this. Thanks - Alex 6:06 AM - Sep 26, 2021 · Conversocial

The tweet prompted viral reactions from users on social media, with many users asking IKEA to reconsider discontinuing the toy (examples shown below).

On the same day, IKEA USA tweeted[22] that the toy will not be discontinued in the United States. An IKEA representative in Russia also commented[23] that the toy will remain available in the country.


Maria ... @AkemiVermilion Blahaj rescue operation let's f------ goooo as IKEA UK Support O @IKEAUKSupport · Sep 26 Replying to @justarandomfry and @heyimdaf Hello. I'm sorry that BLAHAJ isn't available at the moment, due to supply issues. It may only be available for a short period of time as it is set to be discontinued from April 2022. I shall log your comments in relation to this. Thanks - Alex 1:04 PM - Sep 26, 2021 · Twitter Web App IKEA UK Support O @IKEAUKSupport 6h KEA Hello. I'm sorry that BLAHAJ isn't available at the moment, due to supply issues. It may only be available for a short period of time as it is set to be discontinued from April 2022. I shall log your comments in relation to this. Thanks - Alex 258 t7 1.2K 404 @irl_donut Queenie ... @queer_queenie Wait is the implication here that brexit is depriving the UK of access to blahaj plushies IKEA UK Support O @IKEAUK.. · 1d : KEA Hello. I'm sorry that BLAHAJ isn't available at the moment, due to supply issues. It may only be available for a short period of time as it is set to be discontinued from April 2022. I shall log your comments in relation to this. Thanks - Alex 27 2,579 ♡ 1,267 melody @pixelyunicorn · 1d hey @IKEAUSAHelp @IKEAUSA, is the BLAHAJ also being discontinued in the US as well? 2 83 IKEA USA Help O @IKEAUSA.. · 17h : CKEA Hi Melody! Thanks for reaching out. We appreciate your interest in our BLÅHAJ shark soft toy! IKEA USA doesn't have current plans to discontinue this product (Article no. 903.735.90). You can check this out on our website here: bit.ly/ 3IVDPVK. We hope this helps! 1:02 PM · Sep 27, 2021 · Twitter for Android

Various Examples


Pawrunes
Do you have money ? BUY NO YES Not for BLASPHEMY Do you have a job? YES They pay you? NO YES NO YES Do you have possessions? Sell them Liar Sell it Do you have NO NO a soul? YES

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