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Three Drops the Ball on Simmons

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ATLANTA Simmons Bedding Co. is reviving an ad campaign from a decade ago that uses a bowling ball to illustrate the comfort of its mattresses, the company said.

The effort is scheduled to launch nationally March 20. The company said it is spending between $7 million and $10 million on the campaign. About 85 percent of the budget will be spent on cable television spots, with the remainder divided between the Internet and the trade press.

In the original ad, the Atlanta-based company used an actor dressed as a scientist who dropped a bowling ball onto the coil springs of a traditional mattress to illustrate how the motion transfers through the mattress and knocks down the bowling pins. He then dropped the ball onto a Simmons Beautyrest mattress and the pins remained standing. The spot ran for three years, and the company said that more than half of the people who saw the ad still remember it.

In the new spot, a series of actors dressed as scientists each represent a different decade and repeat the test. The last test, representing the current decade, uses a female scientist, an attempt to relate to women who generally make the decision about buying a new mattress, the company said.

Three, an independent shop in Atlanta, produced the work. The agency won the account earlier this year in a creative shootout with Leo Burnett in Chicago. Both shops are on the company's roster of agencies and cooperated on the launch of the company's Healthsmart mattress last year. Three CEO Jackson Houk and co-creative director Brad Ramsey both worked on the original campaign in 1995.