How’s this for a direct, to-the-point ad pitch: Buy our mattresses and have great sex! In so many words, that’s the message of new 1-800-Mattress ads in New York. Billboards near the company’s Long Island City showroom feature headlines like, “Satisfaction guaranteed,” “We’re great in bed!” and “Sleep with us.” Quite a departure from the company’s rapid-fire direct response TV and radio ads, in which the announcers are so busy rattling off brand-name mattresses and the phone number that people are about as engaged as they are listening to the potential side effects in a prescription-drug ad. The billboards definitely get your attention. They feature discreetly posed naked couples in bed together. In the “Satisfaction guaranteed” billboard, both mates are conked out, worn out from their romp, or at least that’s the implication. (Whatever satisfaction she’s getting ain’t from the mattress, which she is not lying on.) In the “Sleep with us” board, the message is less clear. He’s on the bottom, sound asleep; she’s on top, eyes wide open. It’s hard to tell if she’s aglow from a fabulous erotic experience or wondering, “Is that it?” Lest you think I’m reading too much into things, here’s what 1-800-Mattress COO Luis Barragan had to say about the campaign in the press release: “Most adults were indoctrinated as children that being sent to their bedroom was a punishment. … As adults, however, we need to reassess our view of bed, sleep and pleasures of the bedroom. This campaign is designed to showcase that pleasure.” Got it, sex sells. Even in the mattress trade.
—Posted by Steve McClellan