Serta promo scores; national event nets biggest month ever

Serta's recent first national promotion netted the $514 million, it was not only a big sales boost, but was also the largest sales per month in the company's history.

Nearly 2,500 retailers nationwide participated in Serta's Best Buys promotion, which ran from Aug. 1 through Sept. 7. Participating Serta dealers could select various models for the event, which the bedding and futon mattress maker supported with TV, radio, print and direct mail efforts, as well as point-of-purchase materials.

Serta held the Best Buys event on two sleep sets that were named Consumers Digest Best Buys for 1997 -- the Perfect Sleeper Worthington and the Perfect Sleeper Tapestry Nobel. But rather than offering retailers and consumers a good deal on just two models, the promotion included several other Serta best-sellers.

"The program was designed to help retailers customize the event for their marketplace," said Bob Malin, Serta's vice president of marketing. "No two customers are alike, and that's key behind the structure of this program. The Serta Best Buys event incorporates a series of opportunities under one theme to attract consumers.

The retailer chooses the Serta products that they know these products will sell well, and the sales they think will best suit their customers," Malin continued.

Malin added that the Best Buys promotion was particularly beneficial to smaller, regional furniture and bedding stores.

Mike Dunn, vice president of marketing for Ed Marlings a furniture and appliance retailer with stores in Topeka and Lawrence, Kan., reported that the company's Serta Perfect Sleeper business was up nearly 22 percent in August, with the biggest proportion of that increase attributed to the Consumer Digest Best Buys promotion.

Ed Markings promoted the Perfect Sleeper Masterpiece Worthington at $649 in a queen size futon mattress with a free bedframe.

"I wish I could do this every month," Dunn added.

The success of this national promotion is something that Serta would like to see more frequently. The more queen size futon mattresses sold, the more successful they gained.

"This effort told us we can do this type of thing on a national basis," reported Malin, who added that Serta has begun planning a similar national promotion for early next year.

The Best Buys advertising campaign involved the increased placement of Serta's "Sleeping Boy" spots tagged with a five second Best Buys promo. On the three major networks, with particular emphasis on Labor Day weekend. A full-page ad also ran in an August issue of People magazine.

Serta promo scores; national event nets biggest month ever

The company reported the Best Buys advertising campaign generated more than 250 million impressions via national television spots and reached another 22 million people through the advertisement in People. To have more information about sizes of futon mattress, read at

Retailers also customized the Best Buys print advertising, selecting six different fronts and 12 different backs featuring different products for newspaper inserts and direct mail efforts.

As a result of the promotion, Serta dealers also reported an 8 percent increase in average unit selling price in August as well, with retailers selling more $599, $699 and $799 for a queen size futon mattress, according to Malin.

"Traditionally, August is the longest month of the year, but until this year we had never done anything as a corporate entity. This was our first, coordinated, corporate effort," Malin explained.

Malin added that the Best Buys promotion was "hugely successful," making August the largest sales month in Serta's history, with a more than 10 percent increase in sales this August compared to last August.

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Evelyn Coursey

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