Attention Sealy Mattress shoppers – Beds are NOT Kitchens

With all the talk about controversial Groupon.com Super Bowl spot with Timothy Hutton (I thought it was a poor attempt at association humor, a bit insensitive, but hardly egregious as some people would have you believe), an overlooked spot in the New York and Boston markets was one run by Sealy Mattresses that took a very different approach than they and other mattress manufacturers have in the past. Here is the link if you want to watch – http://bit.ly/dZMjor
You should know that I personally am in no way offended by the spot from any kind of social perspective. A Media Post article from this past Wednesday http://bit.ly/eQgcui outlined the ‘strategy’ behind Sealy’s repositioning (or is it rebranding?). From the article: “The campaign — which comprises three spots — takes the tack that beds, kind of like kitchens, have evolved to have a more central role in family life.”
The concept that people do a lot more in bed than sleep sounds interesting at first, but I fail to see how that approach is going to move more SEALY mattresses. Sealy CMO Jodi Allen reported that they had done studies that helped lead them to using this approach. ‘We wanted to connect the brand in an emotional way because there is just so much out there that is all about specifications, padding and coils. Consumers say this makes a brand unapproachable.”

I can appreciate the good use of consumer research and even more so listening to your customers as appears to be the case here. But while listening to customers is extremely important, more important is asking the right questions.

Our team has worked with a large mattress manufacturer for many years so we know a few things about this vertical market. One of those things we’ve learned is that highlighting and differentiating product attributes is tantamount to success in launching new models or lines. After all, people spend nearly a third of their lives in bed (to me that in itself is actually a dream), but they probably spend more than 85% of that time sleeping in the bed and not necessarily doing ‘other things’.

I am all for taking chances and trying very different approaches to help solve marketing challenges. It remains to be seen whether or not Sealy has hit upon a formula that will resonate with consumers. I still cannot tell if they are repositioning the brand or not. Certainly changes to Sealy’s marketing approach are needed to help bolster this once proud brand which has lost ground to competitors over the past decade or more.

But I point out that a mattress is definitely not a kitchen (nor vice versa) and I am puzzled how Media Post came to that conclusion – are you?

About markkolier

Futurist, entrepreneur, left lane driver
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4 Responses to Attention Sealy Mattress shoppers – Beds are NOT Kitchens

  1. Ian says:

    I find their rebranding attempts to be a little off-putting. While it’s no secret that people have sex in beds, that’s not really a factor when I buy a new mattress. I assume they’re attempting to appear hip (omg sex sells? Who knew?) but these ads seem very manufactured to me. It just doesn’t feel genuine. Also, isn’t it a little strange for Sealy’s marketing team to try to make us equate mattresses and sex? We buy mattresses for our children. I certainly don’t want to think “it’s better on spings” when buying a twin.

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    • markkolier says:

      It does seem to me that Sealy is indeed trying too hard to be edgy in this campaign. I question whether or not Sealy did research that showed people actually strongly consider the sexual ergonomics of their mattress. Thanks for your comment Ian.

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  2. I think the value was in potential viral marketing, unfortunately there is little substance there and poor combination with online promotion. It’s a funny joke, but what is there to keep clients engaged? If they combined the sex sells concept with stressing something with substance like the importance of sleep and how poorly Americans sleep perhaps Sealy could keep it rolling and actually start promoting youtube / facebook better. Unfortunately they’re not doing that. Sealy now has 5,000 likes?

    Look at other major household names online outside of the mattress business and you can clearly see that sealy, and all mattress companies really, are failing on social sites. Hopefully it will change because we would sure like Sealy to do well…

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    • markkolier says:

      A campaign that was misguided as far as I am concenred. I agree that it might have seemed like a good idea at the time. And the messaging of better sleep – better life (or even better sex) was not tapped. 5,000 likes is a big number but how will Sealy engage those 5,000 to become brand advocates or better yet to buy another bed?

      Thanks for your well thought out comment.

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