According to the National Sleep Foundation, one-third of Americans are so tired during the day that it disrupts their daily activities. Despite this statistic, in 2001, the mattress industry faced its lowest sales year in more than a decade.
With the market sagging, Select Comfort turned to Carmichael Lynch Spong (CLS) to help boost sales through the introduction of its new Sleep Number bed.
"The industry was filled with brand confusion and no clear leader in the mind of the consumer, says Ann Folkman, director of PR at Select Comfort. "The company recognized an opportunity to launch a brand that would better communicate its ability to provide a sounder night's sleep."
Unlike traditional innerspring mattresses, a Sleep Number bed boasts two adjustable air chambers. A remote control allows each sleep partner to independently adjust his or her side of the bed by regulating the amount of air inside each chamber, thus changing the Sleep Number - a setting between zero and 100 that represents a combination of comfort, firmness, and support.
Select Comfort, the nation's fifth-largest mattress maker and number-one bedding retailer, decided to center its efforts on the idea that discovering your personal Sleep Number is the key to a restful slumber. With that in mind, the company repositioned its PR, advertising, website, and packaging - as well as its 328 stores - to focus on the Sleep Number brand.
"The PR assignment was to fuel, build, and sustain credibility for the Sleep Number brand, and momentum for the business, says Folkman.
Therefore, CLS wanted to educate consumers about the Sleep Number concept, create excitement about the brand, and encourage people to find their personal Sleep Number.
CLS kicked off the yearlong multimedia campaign in January with a high-profile launch event in New York, sending invitations printed on full-size pillowcases. Beds were set up around the room so attendees could test the new mattress, and Jason Sehorn, cornerback for the New York Giants, revealed his Sleep Number at the event.
"Jason is a longtime customer who attributed the Sleep Number bed to helping relieve pain and improve his quality of sleep, explains Folkman. "He is also a well-known personality, having played in the Super Bowl just days before our press conference."
A media relations platform provided sleeping tips for expectant moms, couples, and families. Since TV was a priority, as it allowed the bed to be demonstrated, media tours and interviews were conducted by sleep experts.
In a cause-related marketing partnership, Select Comfort became the "Official Bed Provider of the Ronald McDonald House, with a first-year goal of providing each of the 145 houses with a Sleep Number bed.
"The Sleep Number campaign was not only the company's largest and most ambitious, but also its most successful, says Folkman.
Efforts garnered more than 47 million gross impressions. Broadcast coverage accounted for 35% of all placements and more than eight hours of TV airtime, including a feature on NBC's Today. Over 150 print placements were generated, including coverage in Fit Pregnancy and Home Style magazines.
"The media ran with the 'couple's compatibility' pitch, and the message that one in four couples report that they would sleep better if they did not sleep in the same bed, Folkman adds.
With the help of CSL, Select Comfort intends to keep sleep top of mind through tips-oriented media relations efforts. Activities include local market events, sleep surveys, and satellite media tours.
Client: Select Comfort (Minneapolis)
PR Team: Carmichael Lynch Spong (Minneapolis)
Campaign: Uncovering the Secret to Better Sleep
Time Frame: January - December 2001