Bad At Marketing? Maybe Not!

A self-deprecating campaign from Verlo Mattress celebrating inept marketing stunts came away a winner in two recent advertising competitions.

The ”Bad at Marketing, Great at Mattresses” commercials featuring Verlo Mattress mascot “Mattie” won a Gold ADDY recently in the American Advertising Federation’s competition in Madison, Wis. and also was a winner in the 56th annual American Graphic Design Awards.

Milwaukee-based Verlo manufactures and sells mattresses from its 35 stores primarily in the Midwest. The commercials are the work of Milwaukee-based SRH Marketing. Full and partial versions of the commercials that have aired on TV.

Beginning in early 2019, Mattie has attempted to draw attention for Verlo by trying to jump a bicycle over stacked mattresses like Evel Kneivel, wearing roller skates and flipping a “sale” arrow sign along on a busy road, disco dancing with store associates, waving sparklers in front of a 4th of July sale banner, attempting a water ski jump (like Fonzie jumping the shark on TV’s “Happy Days”), or substituting for Santa Claus – each with disastrous results. In each commercial, a message flashes on the screen, “Our marketing ideas may not be great…but our mattresses are.” The commercials were streamed online and broadcast on television in select markets.

“The ’Bad at Marketing’ campaign allows us to poke fun at ourselves and the retailing industry while highlighting the fact we offer a superior product without the hype,” said Dirk Stallmann, Verlo’s executive vice president. “Our customers have awarded us their gold medal for decades by coming back to purchase the best quality sleep and the excellent value they get from a Verlo mattress. Now, our peers in the advertising industry are honoring us for our honest marketing.”

There were more than 400 entries in the local American Advertising Awards (ADDY) competition. Gold ADDY winners are automatically forwarded to the district competition, competing with winners from local competitions throughout Minnesota, North Dakota, South Dakota and Wisconsin. Should the entry win Gold again at the District 8 competition, it will be forwarded to the national competition, held in conjunction with AAF’s national conference in Palm Springs, Calif. in June 2020.

The American Graphic Design Awards are sponsored by Graphic Design USA (GDUSA), the magazine for creative professionals. There were a record 12,000 entries in the GDUSA competition, with a showcase of 600 winners reflecting the endless ways in which first-rate graphic design shapes commerce, culture, ideas and causes.

“The judges in both competitions reflect the positive feedback we’ve received on ‘Bad at Marketing.’ People seem to appreciate companies and brands that don’t take themselves so seriously and can poke fun at themselves,” said Stallmann. “We’ve had a lot of fun with ‘Bad at Marketing, Great at Mattresses’ because it’s allowed us to highlight the high quality, direct-to-consumer service that Verlo has delivered for 61 years. And there’s more to come for Mattie and Verlo this year!”

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About Verlo Mattress: Founded in 1958 by two men who named the company for their wives (Verna and Lois), Verlo Mattress has 22 locations in Wisconsin and 13 more in Colorado, Georgia, Illinois, Iowa, and Missouri. Verlo is passionate about helping people find the right sleep products – at the best prices – because so much depends on a good night’s rest. Verlo mattresses are built in local Verlo factories, sold at consumer-direct prices and serviced locally with a Lifetime Comfort Guarantee.