Boy did that stir the pot!
You heard people saying it was unnecessary and that Serta should have more class. Others pointed out that Serta could have brought a strong message without using the words “cheap-ass.” Some couldn’t believe Serta would connect ITS brand with something so juvenile.
Regardless of the opinions, here’s the reality:
- Before you even got in the front door, people were talking about that banner. Serta successfully hijacked nearly every conversation. The only thing people wanted to talk about in the halls was that banner and they wanted to know your reaction to it.
- Was it really so bad? If you put this banner in context, meaning in Las Vegas, was it really all that offensive or out of place? You see half-naked women on billboards everywhere you look. In context, the Serta banner was pretty mild.
- Did you catch the Super Bowl? If so, did you see the Chevy commercial portraying the end of the world? It was a little smash mouth and came under fire (mostly by Ford fans), but the majority of people loved it. After walking the halls at Market, I found the same was true for the Serta banner: Most people loved it.
At the end of the day, if you are making a decision about the 40-foot banner, I think you have to ask, “Will this banner have a net negative affect?” Given that it was on display for a trade audience only, I think it did exactly what it was designed to do: hijack the buzz. From a marketing perspective, I don’t think the message lines up with the iComfort brand, but it does line up with Serta CEO Bob Sherman.
Bob told me his team delivered the banner idea as a joke, along with a few other concepts. He liked it so much he went with it. When I saw the banner, I thought to myself, “Rick Anderson with Tempur-Pedic has to be reading that saying to himself, ‘Ugh Bob, YOU are the cheap-ass knock off!’” Sure enough, in the Furniture Today panel discussion where Bob and Rick shared the stage, Bob acknowledged that sentiment poking fun at himself and Serta. It made for a great moment, and the crowd loved it!
I think it was funny. I am not saying it connects to any overall brand strategy, but it was FUNNY and I think everybody should lighten up a little. After all, it’s Vegas baby!
What do you think about Serta’s banner? Tasteless or genius? Leave your comments below.
P.S. On a side note, when the team from Symbol Mattress saw the iComfort banner, they went to work that very afternoon and had a sign made up that said, “The best cheap-ass knock off in the industry.” Symbol put the banner on the company’s mattress display in the atrium. The banner lasted less than a day. SOMEBODY stole it! Great thought, but maybe next time.
DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in this blog are mine and mine alone. They do not represent the thinking of the company I work for, or anyone else with whom I am affiliated. Except my wife of course, who is good at telling me what not to say.