Kirshenbaum Bond Senecal Wins Simmons Account

Mattress business comes after a review

First campaign from new shop is expected next year.

Simmons Bedding Co. has hired Kirshenbaum Bond Senecal + Partners as its new lead creative agency.

The selection came after a three-month review in which there were two other finalists: The Martin Agency and McKinney, according to sources.

In making the hire, Jeff Willard, evp of marketing at Simmons, cited the winning agency's strategic thinking and past standout ads for key client BMW. "The other thing was [their] having everything in one shop: digital, advertising, PR," Willard said.

Simmons spent about $15 million on media last year, according to Nielsen. That number does not include digital spending.

The brand's last lead agency was Omnicom Group's Martin|Williams in Minneapolis, which split with Simmons in February, after just 18 months together. Since then, Arnold has handled projects for the mattress maker, which is based in Atlanta.

Willard started at Simmons last fall. In March, the company shifted its media planning and buying business to WPP Group's MEC, sans review. Martin|Williams had handled that account as well.

There has been a flurry of activity in the mattress category recently. In June, mattress retailer Sleepy's hired Publicis Kaplan Thaler as its lead creative shop, six months after appointing Horizon Media to handle media planning and buying.

When asked what to expect from Simmons going forward, Willard emphasized the company's plan to upgrade its advertising next year, when the first work from his new shop breaks. "The creative that we'll be doing, the creative content and the way we go after our marketing mix is going to play at an entirely different level," Willard promised.

While Simmons will continue to tout less pricey mattresses, it also will call out higher-end models, whose pricetags run as high as $5000.

"It's an expensive purchase," acknowledged Willard, adding, "It should have the same type of luxury market you might see on a BMW 3 series, the same type of marketing you might see on a high end luxury watch."

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