Sealy takes solemn tone in $15 mil mattress push

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Mattress advertising takes a serious turn this week with a new Sealy Corp. campaign that points out the adverse effects of not getting enough sleep.

Armed with new agency Long Haymes Carr, Winston-Salem, N.C., and a $15 million budget, the country's largest mattress maker assures consumers, "We support you night and day."

"To really get people to reconsider the category, it made sense to take a serious approach," said Mylene Pollock, Long Haymes Carr chief creative officer. "It's almost like a public service angle."

Indeed, the two b&w TV spots and print work point out facts such as "68 million Americans are sleep deprived." One TV ad focuses on a single drooping and blinking eyelid while voice-over asks: "Do these eyes belong to your doctor? . . . to your child's bus driver? . . . to your pharmacist? . . . to your pilot? Or the guy in the other lane?"

Sealy and Long Haymes Carr plan to reinforce the TV ads with print that expands Sealy's "support for the sleep-deprived" positioning. Point-of-purchase advertising will delve even further into the Sealy technology, Ms. Pollock said.

Sealy's competition comes from Serta and Simmons Co., the two other largest U.S. mattress manufacturers. Each switched ad agencies in 1999. Sealy moved from Leo Burnett USA, Chicago, to Long Haymes Carr in September; Serta moved its $20 million account from Publicis & Hal Riney, Chicago, to Doner, Southfield, Mich., in December. Simmons recently chose BBDO South, Atlanta, after Atlanta-based WestWayne resigned its account. BBDO is expected to have a new campaign soon.


Taking the serious tone helps differentiate Sealy from the pack-a task that's additionally complicated by the similar sounding names. Simmons has been known for its science and Serta uses a "dream" theme. Sealy also was known in part for science, but this campaign allows the marketer to capitalize on its ownership of "support."

Consumer testing showed that consumers were very familiar with the Sealy brand as the category leader, however, they didn't have a strong emotional connection with it.

"They already had the rational part about the quality of Sealy, but the brand emotion connection needed to be made," Ms. Pollock said. "That can be as simple as one of the lines in the TV spot that says, `Dual support system cradles and supports your body.' Cradles is important to people."

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