creativityfurnituremarketingmattressesproduct development

The Sex Factor

Okay, I promise that this will be the last blog I write, at least for a while, that has the word sex in it. (It does get your attention though doesn’t it?)

By now you’ve probably seen Sealy’s latest television spot “After Glow” (if not, you can watch it below).

With anything like this, you run the risk of stirring up a little controversy. Let me weigh in with some things for you to consider:

Thought Leadership: According to Wikipedia, the term “thought leader” describes an entity that is recognized for having innovative ideas. There was a day when everybody watched what Sealy did and then pretty much copied them as the industry leader. They really have not done much of anything relevant to be considered a thought leader in past years, until now. Coming out with a marketing campaign that is this edgy, especially for this industry, comes with some risk. Sealy has had a tough time dealing with a heavy debt burden and a declining market share, so the launch of this new line is important to them. To take some risk and come out “guns blazing” shows their desire to get back to the glory days when they led the industry. Even if you don’t like the creative execution, you have got to respect them for putting it out to the public in an effort to make an impact.

“She says, he says”: It’s always refreshing to see a company placing marketing research at the center of its product development platform. Sealy made a great move to involve Ideo and Leo Burnett to get at the heart of the issue and find out what the consumer thinks about the product and the message. When you do this, you are not guaranteed a win but it sure will increase your chances of hitting the mark. If you want to be critical about anything they are doing, just remember that they used both qualitative and quantitative research alike with retailers and consumers, who are the core part of their audience. If that group likes what you are doing, isn’t that the point?

All Heart: We know today that consumers buy products based on emotion, not logic. We also know that, for the most part, a mattress purchase is a need item that we must convert into a want item. Sex IS emotional! There are millions of examples of companies using sex to sell their products and many of them force the issue. For example, this Super Bowl commercial from uses raciness to attract viewers to a website for buying web domains. In the case of Sealy, the sex approach is great because it is not a stretch. Mattresses can directly impact the intimacy experience, so why in the world would we not connect the two? Sealy had some fun with this and turned a fluffy white rectangle into something sexy.

Maybe the best part of all of this is that Sealy has a comprehensive approach. They created a great digital campaign that will get consumers involved with their smart phones, and have also created a contest for retail sales associates, (just the one spot “After Glow” is getting close to a million combined views as I write this blog making it an official VIRAL success on line). I hope that their ownership is funding the campaign with some serious dollars because something like this could help an entire industry: It gets the consumer to think about that purchase a little differently.

At least that is how I see it.  Do you think they went too far? What is the downside to this approach?  What are you thinking?

Oh, and P.S. It’s better on springs!

3 thoughts on “The Sex Factor

  1. “Okay, I promise that this will be the last blog I write, at least for a while, that has the word sex in it. (It does get your attention though doesn’t it?)”
    Now, when you write, “by a while,” do you mean until tomorrow? 🙂
    Definitely a racy ad! I wish I were a little fly on the wall when they conducted the focus groups!

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