Cheesehead bed a hit with Packers fans

Green Bay Packers fans' penchant for wearing foam hats shaped like cheese blocks inspired Verlo Mattress Factory.

Client: Verlo Mattress Factory (Milwaukee, WI)
Agency: Hanson Dodge Creative (Milwaukee, WI)
Campaign: Cheesehead Bed
Duration: October 2012 – January 15, 2013
Budget: $11,000

Green Bay Packers fans' penchant for wearing foam hats shaped like cheese blocks inspired Verlo Mattress Factory, which has 25 stores in Wisconsin (40 total in the US), to create and sell a Cheesehead bed.

Hanson Dodge Creative was hired to create an attendant campaign to increase local and national awareness and drive traffic to stores, events, and online properties. 

“Mattress sales typically dip in the winter, so the timing created opportunity [to sell],” explains Verlo's CMO Scott Baitinger. “We build our mattress locally…so we can make adjustments to customer needs and move from concept to product rollout quickly. We wanted to push the local build angle through a hyper-localized project.”

Strategy
Cheesehead beds were available October 29, 2012, to February 15, 2013. The price dropped $200 for 24 hours following a Packers' win.

Former Packers' star LeRoy Bulter, enlisted as a paid spokesperson, gave media interviews and helped generate excitement at two events. A Facebook contest and a Cheesehead bed website also drove awareness.

Tactics
A press release announced the campaign locally following an October 29 Packers game. Matt Braun, the agency's director of PR, says select outlets were hand-delivered packages that included foam cheese pillows and the release. Butler conducted interviews.

Outreach expanded to include national sports media, gift guides, and outlets with a Wisconsin connection.

Cheeseheadbed.com, launched October 28, provided information about the bed.

Butler posed for photos with fans on a Cheesehead bed exhibited outside Lambeau Field before a November 4 Packers game. Verlo donated $1 for each photo to the LeRoy Butler Foundation, which benefits breast cancer. 

A similar in-store event with Butler was held November 11. 

A “Who has the Cheesiest Bedroom?” photo contest ran on Facebook during November. The entrant submitting the photo that got the most likes won a Cheesehead bed delivered by Butler on March 3.

Results 
Baitinger says overall sales exceeded expectations by 20%, and traffic to all Wisconsin stores increased 31.2% between October and December compared to those months in 2011.

Verlo.com traffic increased 39% between October 2012 and January 2013, compared to the same months in the previous year. Visits hit 5,000 between October 29 and October 30, up from about 2,400 on the same dates in 2011. Daily unique visitors hit an all-time high on November 21 following a Huffington Post story.

In all, 75 stories ran nationwide (upward of 111 million impressions) in outlets including KNBC-TV in Los Angeles and FOX Sports.com.

Cheeseheadbed.com drew 12,700 visitors total between October and January 15.

The events yielded more than 2,000 new customer contacts.

Facebook likes increased 15% in November to more than 4,000.

Future 
Verlo and the agency will run another Cheesehead bed campaign this football season.

“We learned people wanted a Cheesehead futon too, so we'll do both this year,” Baitinger notes.

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