Casper / Casper’s dream phone
This story originally appeared on Contagious I/O, our intelligence tool featuring the most creative and effective ideas in marketing from around the world
Mattress startup runs ads in the early hours of the morning that contain no branding but direct insomniacs to an absurd helpline
Casper, the mattress startup, ran bizarre ads for insomniacs in the dead hours of the morning on TV stations in the US.
The ads, which ran between 2am and 5am on TV networks in the US, showed naff-looking footage of sunsets, seeds sprouting and salmon leaping, along with cheesy hold music and a message inviting insomniacs to call a toll-free number. Nowhere was the brand mentioned.
Anyone who called the number was invited to choose one of nine options, each of which was a recording purporting to help people drift off. For instance, callers could choose to listen to a motivational speech, a hypnotist and even the meeting where Casper’s marketing team came up with the idea for the helpline.
Again, none of these messages feature the brand’s name or mention that it sells mattresses. Only callers who stay on the line and don’t press an option will hear a message from a frazzled sales rep, who explains what Casper does (in a rambling fashion) and gives you details about the brand’s genuine website and phone number.
The Can’t Sleep? campaign was conceived and produced in house at Casper.
Contagious Insight /
Buzzing about dozing / A clue about the strategy behind Casper’s strange campaign lies in the recording of the (fictional) meeting where the idea for the ad emerged. One executive comments that it won’t sell mattresses but ‘could be really big on Facebook’. Obviously the whole thing has its tongue firmly in its cheek, but that doesn’t make it wrong. In the near total absence of any kind of branding or mention of mattresses in the ads, one of the only discernible benefits for the brand is the buzz and PR created by doing something moderately surreal.
Lyndsay Kaplan, Casper’s vice president of communications, told another publication that the brand wanted to reach people during ‘the overnight hours’ with a message that was surreal and hypnotic in a way that would mirror the other commercials being run at that time.
She has also been quoted as saying that the ads were not selling mattresses, rather they were selling sleep as an escape that is also a necessary component of a happy life at a time when people lead increasingly stressed lives.
Kaplan explained that as other mattress companies continue to use convoluted sales pitches full of jargon to sell their products, Casper would cut through the noise by being ‘in on that absurdity’.
This story originally appeared on Contagious I/O, our intelligence tool featuring the most creative and effective ideas in marketing from around the world. I/O helps anyone in the world of marketing understand why brands are innovating, how they're doing it and with what success.