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Mattress ads often depict people resting atop a cloud or jumping near a glass of wine to illustrate how cushy a bed is. Nectar's latest campaign contrasts with this serenity, instead riffing on over-the-top styles of motivational speakers. A high-energy parody video that dropped this week introduces Yawn Yawnson, the direct-to-consumer (DTC) brand's new fictional spokesperson, as a sleep-obsessed evangelist revving up massive crowds around the power of a good nap.
In a series of videos, the hype man of sorts works his fans — dubbed Bedheads — into a frenzy around the importance of sleep and reveals his go-to solution for insomnia is a Nectar mattress. The 90-second hero spot accompanies 25 other assets for an "unhustle" campaign that will run through the holidays. While hyperbolic, the self-proclaimed "motivational sleeper" at the center of the effort embodies Nectar's goal of countering social norms that reward sacrificing sleep to work and achieve more.
"We live in a self-help culture. Everybody's trying to give everybody tips on how to do more and take on more and be their best selves. I think that oftentimes comes at a sacrifice," Nick Guastaferro, VP and head of brand, creative and communications at Nectar's parent company Resident, told Marketing Dive. "We have to fit more hours into the day to have the 'hustle' mindset that, decidedly, we believe is an indicator of success."
Marketers often produce one longer-form video that's spliced into shorter cuts to fit a variety of advertising formats for simplicity's sake. Nectar and Brooklyn-based agency Mustache worked in reverse and began with the Yawnson concept. They then selected ad placements and produced more than two dozen assets tailored to each platform where the campaign is running, working with YouTube and Facebook to translate the idea into custom content that matches the context where users view the ads.
"The story began to tell itself," Guastaferro said. "We were almost at a place where we had an embarrassment of riches, where there was so much creative around the central idea that we actually didn't have the challenge of coming up with content."
The bigger challenge surrounded prioritizing the assets and delivering them to consumers in a particular order, based on whether they have seen the campaign's hero video and where they fall in the purchasing funnel.
Much of Nectar's marketing is powered by data-driven insights and targeting to ensure a person is delivered a shorter cut — a 15-second spot or Facebook ad, for example — only after having viewed a longer video that more clearly introduces them to the campaign messaging. Guastaferro said the company's investments in data help to provide contextual relevance and optimize ad placements.
Shaking up a 'sea of sameness'
With Yawnson, Nectar appears to be drawing inspiration from other brands' spokespeople, such as Progressive's Flo or Geico's gecko. Adding a face to Nectar humanizes the brand and could deepen consumers' connections with its "unhustle" messaging.
Yawnson will continue to develop a personality through marketing content, including a Q&A-style interview on Nectar's website. His role in Nectar's marketing helps to differentiate the brand from competitors in the crowded mattress space, Guastaferro said. Around 175 companies pack the market, according to GoodBed.com data cited in CNBC, meaning brands need to get progressively more creative as they vie for top-of-mind positioning.
The category is filled with "a sea of sameness," according to Guastaferro, where mattress brands talk over one another without educating consumers on the value of a restful night's sleep. This opportunity pushed Nectar to fill the gap and position itself as a brand working to address a cultural issue around consumers’ sacrificing sleep at the expense of health and wellness.
"It was all very zen, sleepy marketing, and as a sleep brand we thought there was an opportunity to add some energy to it with the 'motivational sleeper,'" he said.
"What we've seen is that [Yawnson] really became the hype man in a tongue-in-cheek parody way that almost holds a mirror to consumers of the challenges and the sacrifices we make at the expense of sleep."
VP and head of brand, creative and communications at Resident
A second phase of the campaign extends into February, when Nectar will work with influencers ahead of Daylight Saving Time to bring to life relatable moments around losing an hour of sleep. The mattress brand will then drop another 25 pieces of marketing content, Guastaferro said.
"Awaken Great Sleep" aligns with Nectar's broader creative strategy of delivering playful, cheeky marketing to attract potential buyers and build brand buzz online. The mattress company last year debuted a three-minute video that riffed on the old "this is your brain on…" adage to highlight how people develop "grumpy brain" from a lack of sleep.
What made the video, titled "Make America Sleep Again," particularly compelling was that it starred animated versions of world leaders President Donald Trump, Kim Jong Un and Vladimir Putin. The humorous campaign, along with others that featured grown adult heads superimposed onto babies' bodies or mattresses being delivered by a team of butterflies, illustrate Nectar's goofy, memorable take on the world.
"With Yawn, this campaign really takes a hyperbolic approach and sort of breaks from the category conventions by forcing consumers to step back and reappraise what's really important to them via the motivational sleeper," Guastaferro said. "What we've seen is that he really became the hype man in a tongue-in-cheek parody way that almost holds a mirror to consumers of the challenges and sacrifices we make at the expense of sleep."