Shoppers at Menards took a look at some Serta mattresses.

Kyndell Harkness, Star Tribune

Ad firms go to the mattresses

  • Article by: DAVID PHELPS
  • Star Tribune
  • December 3, 2012 - 7:32 PM

In the Minneapolis ad agency world, sleeping on the job these days appears to be a virtue, not a vice.

On Monday, Carmichael Lynch unveiled its newest client: Tempur-Pedic, the giant mattress manufacturer that sells its products in 80 countries . The Carmichael win marks the third name-brand mattress maker to select a Minneapolis agency in the past 18 months.

Martin/Williams is the agency of record for Simmons, a market leader whose product line includes Beautyrest and ComforPedic, while Little & Co. is doing marketing for Sealy, the No. 2 mattress seller in the United States.

"What is it about Minneapolis and mattresses?" joked Joe Cecere, president of Little & Co. "Maybe it's the long winters with not enough daylight and we sleep more. Maybe we understand the industry better."

Whatever the reason, mattress clients are good for agencies.

Tempur-Pedic spends more than $100 million a year on media, according to Kantar Media, which tracks ad spending.

"We don't see very many $100 million clients," said Mike Lescarbeau, Carmichael Lynch CEO. "We're fortunate to be involved in something that big."

Tempur-Pedic will be one of Carmichael's largest clients in a book of business that includes Subaru and that once included Harley-Davidson motorcycles.

"The agency's work for iconic brands such as Subaru and Harley-Davidson struck a personal chord as they build upon each brand's loyal and fervent owner base to attract new users to each business," said Rick Anderson, president of Tempur-Pedic North America, in a statement.

The mattress industry is highly competitive, with some products that sell from $4,000 to $6,000.

The fight for consumer preference also is intensified by an industry model in which independent distributors sell competing mattress lines on the same showroom floor.

Martin/Williams' work for Simmons hit the airwaves last summer with a "fully charged" theme about the importance of sleep. "We charge everything else; maybe it's time to recharge the human battery," says one of the Simmons pieces prepared by Martin/Williams.

The goal at Little & Co. is to link mattresses to lifestyle. "The bedroom is the second-most-popular gathering place in the home after the kitchen," Cecere said in an interview last month.

Carmichael Lynch's creative work for Tempur-Pedic is still in production, but it likely will range from serious to humorous, much like its work for Subaru.

"This is an emotional piece that people invest in," Lescarbeau said. "It's not unlike a car purchase. It's a decision that a couple makes together. It's also a fertile creative area."

The Twin Cities advertising market is known for attracting big-name clients from Cadillac at Fallon to Andersen Windows at Periscope. "Minneapolis has a reputation for selling products at the higher end," Lescarbeau said.

David Phelps • 612-673-7269

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