Thursday, April 26, 2007

Select Comfort's new ad direction

I've just had a chance to review two Select Comfort commercials from its new "Cure Tired" campaign. As I mentioned in the past, the most recent advertisements seemed more like they were hawking drugs not beds. The new ads are much better and get back to the key elements of the original ads: humor and product focused. True to form, McKinney produced one spot aimed at women and another aimed at men.

"Bright Eyed", the weaker of the two in my opinion, begins with scenes of women trying to cover up baggy eyes in the morning with the familiar "What the world needs now..." tune in the background. A voiceover suggests, "The world doesn't need a better way to fake a good night's sleep... It needs a better way to sleep." The payoff is a 5-second explanation of the Sleep Number bed followed by the new tag: "You Can Cure Tired." Since I'm not the target audience, I don't know if my judgment can be relied on, but the makeup and cucumber scenes seem less humorous and more pathetic than I'd like.

On the other hand, "Staying Awake" seems to hit just the right notes. The opening scenes this time represent over-the-top caffeine/energy drink/stimulant attempts to stay awake under the same music. The voiceover this time says, "The world doesn't need a better way to stay awake... It needs a better way to sleep." The spot is a full minute instead of 30-seconds and it uses the time to establish a bit more clearly that the first part is about covering up the real problem: being tired. It also introduces a protagonist who buys a moderate-sized cup of coffee and rejects the "moster caf 72" coffee mug. As he walks down the street, he observes in disbelief the Ka-Blowie stimulant-smoothie stand, Wakey'z Drugmall, a dog lapping up coffee abandoned by a napping newspaper seller, and so on. Finally, the man notices a helpful Select Comfort salesman waving to him from in front of his store. The ad ends with the same explanation and tagline.

"Cure Tired" is a pretty good tag, especially since the beds actually work. Every time I'm forced to sleep in some other bed, even a relatively comfortable bed, I'm quite happy to go home and rest in a bed that adjusts to fit me.

SCSS has just released their first quarter earnings which were fairly well described on the Fool. Obviously I'd prefer if comparable sales were better and it makes me nervous to have management back-load earnings so much. But I think there is a good chance advertising will make a difference.

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