Mattress Makers Get in Bed With Leo Burnett, Starcom

Trade Group Urges Consumers to Replace Mattress More Often in Bid to Spur Sales

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CHICAGO ( -- Now here's a novel brief: A trade group has hired advertising and media agencies to make the point that its products are less durable than consumers think.

The International Sleep Products Association, which represents mattress makers, has tapped Publicis Groupe's Leo Burnett and Starcom as its creative and media agencies of record in a bid to get consumers to buy new mattresses more often.

According to an ISPA spokeswoman, the current average mattress-purchase interval is 10.3 years; its studies show mattresses ought to be replaced after five to seven years. Naturally, if consumer habits changed accordingly, that would significantly boost the industry's sales. Last year, total units sold declined by 2.1%, while price increases helped eke out a 1.4% revenue gain for the industry.

Changing ideas
"Sleep deprivation and sleep disorders such as insomnia are a major issue for people here in the U.S. [but] most people don't consider their mattress might be the problem," said Burnett North America President Rich Stoddart. "Leo Burnett and our partners at Starcom look forward to combining our expertise, to develop and build ISPA's brand purpose, and take its message to a much wider audience."

That message will push the idea that consumers -- who increasingly turn to pills and other devices and products to deal with lack of sleep -- might be better off replacing their worn-out mattresses with new models. (Burnett and Starcom might be well advised not to go after those sleep aids too aggressively, however: their Publicis Groupe siblings handle creative chores for Ambien and Lunesta.)

The Publicis pair beat out Havas' Euro RSCG, in the final round of an agency review that involved 10 shops. A Euro spokesman referred an inquiry to ISPA.

Looking to new channels
The resulting campaign will be the trade group's first advertising push of any kind. The group had previously used a public-relations approach to marketing handled by Fleishman Hilliard. But now it's looking to new channels -- including creative advertising, shopper marketing and events -- to get its message out.

Media spending is expected to be in the seven figures, but the number could rise if the work gets traction and ISPA members such as Sealy and Simmons decide to spend more on it.

"We are pleased to have found a group of agencies who can deliver truly multi-layered and innovative communications for ISPA," said Dick Doyle, president-CEO of the group. "Leo Burnett and Starcom showed a real understanding of ISPA's purpose and business objectives. We look forward to a very fruitful relationship."
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