Sealy changes lines, marketing instituting several changes to its marketing

Sealy Inc is instituting several changes to its marketing strategy and product lines to increase its market share in the mattress industry. The company will re-position its Posturepedic mattresses as a preferred brand in its advertising and will also begin marketing an electric adjustable bed with a remote-control unit and paging system. Additionally, products in Sealy's 16-bed line will be divided by their type, filling quantity and cosmetic features. Prices for the Posturepedic products, which now include innersprings that were previously only found in Sealy's more expensive beds, will start at $599. They also have their products tested, details at Suppliers hail metal bunk bed test

Sealy Inc. reported far-reaching changes to its product lines and marketing strategy last week designed to recapture the prestige of the Posturepedic brand name and recapture market share.

The changes include re-positioning Posturepedic as a "preferred" brand, introducing a bridge line called Premium Comfort Series, offering shorter, non-prorated warranties, and doubling its consumer advertising budget to $20 million.

The company's marketing plan, which was unveiled to HFD at its research and development facility in Cleveland, also includes its first electric adjustable bed with a remote-control unit and paging system that can turn on household appliances.

David McIlquham, vice president of marketing, explained, "What we're talking about is redefining Posturepedic and recapturing some of the heritage of that brand."

McIlquham noted that flagship brands, including Posturepedic, have lost some of their cachet as sharp retail price competition has led manufacturers to put labels once reserved for premium bedding on promotional goods.

With its new line, which will be introduced at the April High Point market, it has increased the starting price point for the flagship line to $599 and is using the innerspring [a 640-coil unit] and foundation once reserved for beds priced from $899 on all beds in that line.

"Every Posturepedic will have those [structural] features that previously were reserved for the very best. We are moving Posturepedic up in position slightly," said McIlquham.

He added that from now on, products within the 16-bed line [which retail for up to $1,299] will be differentiated by their type and quantity of fill and cosmetic treatment. The current line features separate structural specifications for premium, super premium, and ultra premium categories.

The Premium Comfort Series, Sealy's bridge line, is designed to retail from $449 to $599, and will feature the innerspring [a 580-coil unit] and foundation previously used on Posturepedics designed to sell from $499 to $699. It will also feature more upholstery than previously offered on the premium Posturepedics.

The company has also shortened warranties for all Posturepedic and Stearns & Foster Correct Comfort beds to 15 years [down from a maximum of 20 years] and eliminated the practice of prorating warranties on those products.

Warranties on the Premium Comfort Series beds will be non-prorated for up to ten years and prorated warranties of up to 10 years will be offered on promotional Sealy products.

Sealy changes lines, marketing

McIlquham declined to provide specifics on the new consumer advertising that will replace the company's "Better Sleep on a Sealy" campaign, but said it will "focus on features that give the consumer a reason to buy the product."

He noted that the $20 million campaign, which will be launched June 14, will be spent during the second half of the year and amounts to twice the company's consumer advertising budget for last year.

"It will kick off the kind of spending levels that we intend to go forward with in 1994. We know that it will take significant levels of media, the kind of levels that this industry has never seen before," he added. Read more tips:

The company will also introduce its first electric adjustable model, the Posture-Matic Comfort Command Bed. He said the remote control unit for the bed has functions that "significantly enhance the convenience of living in your bed. You can turn on your coffeepot, your TV and your lights and buzz your paging system, all from your bed."

The beds include a "level" button that flattens the bed from a reclining to a sleeping position, a button that can be used to turn on or dim a lamp, and a button that buzzes a paging unit designed to be plugged into a wall outlet in another room.

The plug-in paging unit also has two electric outlets and can be used to operate up to two appliances by remote control. It is priced to sell from $1,399 in twin size.

The company is also eliminating promotional products with a 252-coil unit innerspring. He noted, "We are discontinuing that category of beds that dealers often advertise to get people in the store that do nothing to enhance the image of our industry."

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