Mattress commercials aren’t typically known in ad land for being creative hotbeds, but an upstart Los Angeles-based agency has changed all that with a cheeky television campaign for mattress giant Sealy, Inc.
Last December, Arcana Academy opened with the North Carolina-based brand as its founding client and the following brief: launch the Optimum memory foam version of Sealy’s famous Posturepedic mattress, a product designed to compete with specialty mattress maker Tempur-Pedic.
So, the agency conceived several playful TV spots to remind viewers that mattresses are made for more than just sleeping. The tagline: “It’s better on springs. Whatever you do in bed, Sealy supports it.”
The campaign’s latest spots brim with simplicity and innuendo. In “Tester,” the camera zooms in on an actual, rump-shaped mattress tester as plunges down into a bed as coquettish French music extolling the product features plays on the soundtrack.
Similarly, “Good Neighbors” suggests much without showing anything. In the ad, mysterious noises emanating from the abode of an unseen owner of a Sealy Posturpedic begins attract several curious and irritated neighbors. What’s actually happening is never shown, so any inferences are entirely the viewers’ own.
Since Arcana Academy began working for Sealy, Optimum mattress sales have gone up. Tempur-Pedic’s stock price, meanwhile, dropped to nearly 1/3 of its value despite outspending its competitor by more than $150 million. Then, in a classic if-you-can't-beat-'em-join-'em move, Tempur-Pedic bought Sealy, Inc, forming the largest mattress consortium in the world.
Created by Arcana Academy founders and award-winning creatives Shane Hutton (ex-Modernista!) and Lee Walters (ex-Arnold Worldwide), the campaign has breathed new life into a sleepy category and attracted a more youthful, vibrant audience to the brand.
The agency is housed in a converted Victorian mansion in Los Angeles. Its offices’ Baroque interiors pay homage to its mysterious name: ‘school of secrets.’ The walls are adorned with gold leaf, esoteric antiques, strange artwork and of course, advertising trophies but underneath it all is a team that aims to give consumers a fresh perspective on familiar products.
“We started Arcana Academy because a window of opportunity had opened - the kind of window that, if it were ever to close, you would spend the rest of your life saying, ‘what would have happened had I jumped through?’ says Walters. “So we did.”
“We have no illusions about taking over the world,” adds Hutton. “We want to stay small, offer our clients highly personalized service and continue to give them more, for less, faster. If that sounds suspiciously like a promise of turning lead into gold, well, it is.”
See also Sealy Tester