Tuft & Needle hopes to change the conversations about mattresses, playing up the emotional benefits of sleep rather than product details. At the same time, it continues to expand its product line and retail operations, trying to bridge the yawning gap between consumers’ online dreams and real-life mattress woes.
Mattresses aren’t “just about tech and specs, but about how you feel the next day,” says Jennifer Daly, chief marketing officer at Serta Simmons Bedding, which acquired Tuft & Needle in 2018. “It’s about what you bring to the world you operate in -- your family, friends, and community.”
She began working with the brand about 18 months ago, as the pandemic pushed consumers to think differently about health, wellness and working from home. “This is a real opportunity for us to redefine ourselves as consumers embrace wellness and challenge what that means to themselves,” she says.
Hybrid work schedules are a major part of that redefinition. “People are on Zoom calls until late or answering emails. Work has bled into people’s home lives, altering their nighttime routines.” Amid all that hyper-connectivity, Daly says, “consumers feel like their sleep is under constant threat.”
So the new ads focus on how good it feels to wake up naturally, refreshed by a good night’s sleep and ready to face the day. In “700 sq ft,” that joy belongs to a young woman who’s just moved into her first roommate-free apartment. And “First Meeting” focuses on a well-rested mom starting her day right before her child wakes up.
Ads end with the perky promise of a good night’s sleep: “Whatever you wake up for, wake up awake.”
Yard created the campaign, its first for the company.
In a recent survey, the brand found that 75% of Americans agree sleep affects their mood and outlook on life, and two-thirds believe it impacts physical and mental health. Two-thirds also say they get less than seven hours.
The all-digital campaign is also set to run in the company’s eight retail stores and integrated into Hunker House in Venice, California, an experiential shopping destination of Hunker, the popular design site.
Daly tells D2C FYI the campaign launch comes as Tuft & Needle expands its product line. That includes a new Mint Mattress, its first to feature a washable cover.
It’s also looking more closely at the purpose of retail stores to a D2C customer.
Tuft & Needle was founded in 2012, before competitors like Casper, Boll & Branch, Purple and Nectar started. It began in the Southwest and grew gradually, bootstrapping its way through some of the biggest headaches endemic to the category -- including the problematic nature of returns and the undeniable fact that most people don’t buy a new mattress very often.
Daly says the brand boasts the lowest return rate in the category.
To keep customers engaged, it's expanding its assortment. That includes a refreshed quilt offering, adding colors like ochre, chai and ink; and adding bedding made from 100% organic jersey, a body pillow, and a meditation cushion.
“These are the kind of adjacencies we believe consumers want to round out the sanctuary of their bedroom,” she says.
Some of the brand's eight retail stores are relocating, and Daly says they will eventually expand to key markets.
The stores provide an important link between those who discover the brand online but perceive the category as high-risk and want an in-person lie-down before purchase, she notes. While about 75% of people start by searching mattresses online, “50% of shoppers want to touch and feel the mattress to be sure,” she says. They tend to be fans. “Our conversion rates in our shops are between four and five times higher than online.”
Daly says the primary goal of the new campaign is brand awareness, which is currently around 20%. “That means for 80% of consumers, this will be the chance to meet us for the first time.”