I was really looking forward to Winter Market this year because I knew that there were several manufacturers going big with product launches. They brought their “A” game and I was not disappointed with what I saw. In fact, from a consumer’s perspective, this was the best Market I have ever been to. I didn’t make it to all of the showrooms, as I was only at Market for a brief time, so I apologize for not mentioning some of the exhibits. However, from what I was able to see, here are the highlights:
From a visual perspective, Serta did some great things with their iComfort line. These beds looked fantastic and the point of sale was fresh and very persuasive. When a consumer walks into a store, they are going to be drawn to the product, so mission accomplished.
The other real standout was the Sharper Image line from Natura. What makes these beds compelling is the Sharper Image branding as well as their look and feel. Think about it: Air is the only way to adjust the surface comfort of a bed. Now, the consumer has a different way to do that, therefore creating another great story to tell in the mattress industry.
Just press a button to adjust the comfort of the mattress that is made of a regular old polyurethane core, and topped with latex, visco, or gel. This is REAL product innovation. Congratulations to Gino Giori, who is both the Natura’s inventor and a good friend of mine.
Finally, I want to recognize what the guys at Springs Creative are doing with their bed skins. They are taking a standard visco/poly core and dressing it up with a stretch performance fabric that can be printed on.
You can print anything at all, which creates a lot of opportunity for personalization, a trend that is very hot right now in consumer products. The beds looked fantastic and will create some excitement on both retail floors and online. Cool stuff, guys. When you get the NFL license, send me a Chicago Bears mattress!
My hat’s off to Jodi Allen, Leo Burnett and the rest of the team at Sealy, including Mark Delahanty, Jamie Piper and anyone else I am forgetting. I’d like to give a special mention to Larry Rogers, who ultimately had the courage to sign off on this project and push the envelope. I am not going to get into a lot of detail because I am going to dedicate an entire blog to the subject, but I will say this: It is, without a doubt, the best creative approach that meets a business objective that I have ever seen in the industry. It is fun, exciting, sexy, and totally on point with what is important to the consumer.
The campaign is strategic in that it involves the consumer, has a great social media outreach plan to create a community, AND they did NOT forget the retail sales associate by also giving him or her an opportunity to get involved.
It has been fun watching the Kingsdown Sleep to Live program evolve. They have expanded it now to include any bed on a retailer’s floor and are branding it “Bed Match.” The program looks great and, from what I have heard, is very helpful at the point of sale. It is also nice to see somebody putting some research behind an initiative like this. Comfort Solutions also has a great diagnostic kiosk that is making some impact as well. This could be a trend that we see growing in popularity.
At the end of the day, it is all about the shopping list of the consumer: Are we at the top of that list or at the bottom of that list? Based on what I saw this Market, I would say we are pushing our way to the top. What did I miss? What made an impact with you? What are you thinking?
I read with interest your review of the market ( I did not attend). I am not sure I buy in on the hype of the Sharper Image bed, it is afterall, just an airbed that uses the bladder to replace the innerspring – hardly revolutionary, hardly a new experience or visual for the fluffy rectangles. I think the next wave is FASHION on the bed surface.
Did you see the bed cover I had in the LI space?
The print on demand tick is interesting do you remember when L&P brought that big textile printer / plotter to market, that was cool! Customization to the max.
Anyway, I like the blog and did not realize you had such a need to vent your creative energies, glad to see you found an outlet.
All the best,
Dave R. Young
You have to see it before saying the Sharper Image product is not innovative. First the branding is cool and right on the money for what they are trying to do…at least in my humble opinion. Second, they use foam as the way to change comfort. This core can be used with innerspring, latex, visco or anything that you want. It is versatile and only the second way to manipulate surface comfort so for that reason I give it my “innovation stamp of approval.” Which we both know isn’t worth anything. Thanks for the comments Mr. Young. Keep reading and commenting.
By the way, I noticed that you were not there and no I did not get to see that. I think that it is great you are personalizing a bed that way. Customization is a big trend today as you know. I look forward to seeing your program.
Hi, Mark (and Dave). Sorry Mark, I am tardy in discovering your mattress industry blog. Excellent. Keep up the good work!
And yes there was some fascinating mattress news at the Las Vegas market. I especially liked the new “beautiful beds” — unusual border fabrics, cool cut-and-sew techniques, fantastic/artistic/graphic jumbo knit patterns on panels. Can’t wait till the new prettiness in beds [ok to make up words here, i hope] filters into stores.
Shameless plug: The rest of my mattress thoughts from the World Market Center are in March issues ofSleep Savvy and BedTimes. Read all about it online March 1.
Back to the drawing board then!
Maybe i should have stuck to printing?