CONVEYING THE MESSAGE WITH FEELING
The splashy ads to consumers for great deals haven't diminished, but at one level, the emphasis is growing to address the importance of healthy sleep. Women are nudging out endorser John Madden and the Simmons bowling ball man, as Kathy Ireland, Karen Neuburger and Lindsay Wagner lend their creative -- and female -- efforts to the design of futon mattresses and the creation of wellness-focused commercials, targeting women shoppers.
Kathy Ireland has licensed her name and contributed her imagination to a futon mattress line manufactured by Lady Americana as part of Kathy Ireland Home.
Ireland's mattress line is being marketed to fit seamlessly into the Kathy Ireland Home gallery of her other products, including entire bedroom collections, in furniture stores. "This is really exciting because it is new, uncharted territory," said Kerry Tramel, president of Lady Americana. For the information of other futon mattress’s manufacturers.
The creation of the Ireland mattress line was a lengthy process involving heavy consumer focus-group input.
"They were complaining about their current futon mattresses, the shopping process and the expense," Tramel said. "The real kicker was when we sent the test beds out to be tested by her focus groups. People did, very much, like the feel of our beds."
Last fall, lifestyles designer Karen Neuburger worked with Simmons Co. to create the Karen Neuberger signature line of high-end bedding. The mattresses were designed with comfort in mind and to complement her signature top-of-bed merchandise and home accent decor, all of which are being marketed as a lifestyle collection.
Select Comfort chose actress Lindsay Wagner earlier this year as its new spokeswoman. She appears in television commercials and infomercials emphasizing the importance of a good night's sleep for busy families with working parents that need quality time, Get The Best Futon Mattress for the price and then some
More thought and humor is going into the creativity of print ads and television commercials. Witness Serta's award-winning Counting Sheep program that, as a sideline, generates sales of thousands of stuffed sheep on the Internet to consumers; Sealy's hilarious "It's a Sealy" series, Spring Air's "Just Right" bear and Simmons' cavalcade of more than a dozen commercials showing the lighter side of owning a mattress.
On the radio, Select Comfort tends to rule the airwaves with glowing endorsements of its products by talk show host Rush Limbaugh, commentator Paul Harvey and Garrison Keillor, host of "Prairie Home Companion." Select Comfort also sends out thousands of free instructional videos each year to consumers responding to Select Comfort's print advertisements and 1-800 number.
Tempur-Pedic International still finds gold with television infomercials, print ads in magazines and newspapers, and prominent retail placement of its products in airport concourses and shopping malls. Small bedding manufacturers, especially those in the airbed and foam categories, applaud the heavy promotional efforts of competitors Tempur-Pedic and Select Comfort, citing greater exposure of their products to consumers.