Online mattress retailer Casper left something out of its new campaign -- its own name. The company is rolling out a trio of spots catering to insomniacs -- those who have made it past the late-late-night shows and have nothing left to binge-watch. The ads features what seems to be lo-fi stock footage-like film -- of the sun setting, a salmon leaping upstream through white water, sprouts springing up from seeds, all set to cheesy smooth jazz and electronic tracks. The copy, in vintage-y typeface reads, "Can't Sleep? Call (888) 890-2040. It's free." The "Casper" logo never appears.
Created in-house, the ads seem like bait for something that might get you in trouble with your spouse. But dialing the number simply leads you to an aural aid designed to help get you to dreamland -- hitting anywhere from 1-8 will lead you to relaxing sounds of the ocean, wind chimes, a tripback in time to the '90s-(dial-up screeching that might actually give you nightmares instead of zzz's), a hypnotist, a conference call and more.
VP of Communications and Brand Engagement Lindsay Kaplan explained that consumers' media and tech overconsumption has pushed us into an "'age of anxiety' tipping point. It's 2017, stress is up, and sleep is down," she said. "So why haven't mattress companies addressed the real reason why most Americans are tossing and turning? The dinosaurs of the mattress industry continue to use marketing jargon and manufactured specifications to manipulate consumers." That led to Casper's decision to "focus on the escapism of sleep, the absurdity of dreams, and the pleasure of a life well slept."
The new campaign itself "Isn't about selling mattresses," she said. "We're selling sleep. Our goal is to remind you that sleep is essential to happiness. The mattress comes later. For now, lie down, take it easy, and let us tell you a good story."
Perhaps that's why it takes forever to even get to the "Casper" name in the campaign. When listening to the call-in number, consumers will have to wait till the recorded voice gets to "#9" to even find out the company itself is behind everything -- that number finally hooks you up with a Casper representative.
The ads arrive on the heels of a social campaign that dropped during Daylight Savings, which featured a virtual reality "Nap Simulator." We won't give it away here describing what "simulated" sleep is like -- but the cheekiness of the "Can't Sleep" campaign might give you a clue.
"We get it," said Ms. Kaplan. "Marketing sleep is a little absurd. The 'Nap Simulator,' like 'Can't Sleep?' is in on that absurdity in a very obvious way to cut through the noise."
The national TV spots will be airing tonight on networks including Comedy Central, TBS, TNT and AMC between 2:00 - 5:00 a.m., what Ms. Kaplan calls "peak insomnia hours." Soon to follow will be out-of-home ads and a late-night social media push.