Sealy, Mullen Ready Olympics Push

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Synchronized swimmers at rest.
As the 2004 Olympics in Athens approach, Sealy and the Winston-Salem office of Mullen are set to break a campaign touting the mattress-maker's status as "offical supplier of the U.S. Olympic team." In four 15-second spots set to break May 17, we see Olympic athletes using their skills to get into bed, where they immediately fall fast asleep. A swimmer, for example, takes a headlong dive into the sack, while a high jumper gets a running start and hurls himself into the top bunk. In another spot, synchronized swimmers even sleep in unison.

The clever campaign -- directed by Jeff Gorman of JGF -- is based on "a painfully simple idea," according to Mullen executive creative director John Brockenbrough, who took over the creative reins at the agency in September. The effort is, in fact, Brockenbrough's first from-scratch campaign since arriving in North Carolina, following a brief career as a freelancer and a stint at Leo Burnett in Chicago, where he was a creative director on Nintendo -- creating, among other things, the AdCritic classic "Girl Talk." "We've got some good DNA from Wenham," says Brockenbrough, referring to Mullen's flagship office near Boston. "I'm in awe of their work, and I think the trick is how do we take that DNA and build our own thing here." In Winston-Salem, Brockenbrough inherited existing campaigns for Sealy, T.J. Maxx and Wachovia -- the last of which has continued under his tenure, although he says the agency is "starting to test it a little bit" to see where it can go.

In addition to the Olympic promos, the latest round of Sealy work also includes a comic spot -- again, directed by Gorman -- that shows how Sealy salesmen avoid crashing out on the merchandise. The secret? Lots and lots of coffee.

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