Sleep Startup Casper Is Reimagining Labor Day Mattress Sales With This Ingenious PR Ploy

Sleep Startup Casper Is Reimagining Labor Day Mattress Sales With This Ingenious PR Ploy
Image credit: Casper
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If Labor Day mattress sales have become something of a seasonal staple, sleep startup Casper is aiming to put its own irreverent spin on a tradition that CEO Philip Krim says “has become almost laughable.”

Mattress sales on Labor Day (and Memorial Day) originated because these holidays tend to be popular moving dates when school is beginning and ending, explains Krim, and shoppers are frequently in the market for a new bed. But brash posters from traditional retailers proclaiming ‘Closeout Sales’ and ‘Lowest Prices Ever’ tend to be largely meaningless, he says.

“These pricing gimmicks are just ways that they trick consumers into feeling like they got a deal. But in reality, there is no objective pricing standard -- there’s no Kelley Blue Book of mattresses.”

Related: Less Sleep Makes You More Likely to Catch a Cold, Study Finds

Instead, Casper is throwing down an anchor on a Labor Day ‘Sail’ of its own. In New York, Toronto, Chicago, Los Angeles and San Francisco, the company will invite customers out to sea next Monday on chartered boats. Tickets are $30 and include an open bar, with all proceeds going to charity: water.

The company kicked off the initiative last Memorial Day with a Hudson River cruise not far from its New York headquarters, but this year’s Sail represents an opportunity to cruise into other promising markets.

While there will be Casper beds onboard -- “just because we think beds on boats sounds awesome,” Krim says -- the event represents less of a sales driver than a PR gesture and a way for the company to thank its customers.

Related: Want Better Sleep? It Might Be Time to Redecorate. (Infographic)

And, because referrals from existing consumers comprise the company’s biggest channel of new customer acquisition, activating its passionate base is crucial. Later this month, for instance, the company will kick off a seven-city Nap Tour across the east coast, where customers can experience the product firsthand in a tricked-out “napmobile” comprising four sleeping pods, with bedtime stories available via telephone.

Just 16 months old, Casper says it clocked $30 million in mattress sales in its first year, and currently boasts an annual run-rate of $100 million. Ranging in price from $500 to $950, the company sells just one mattress model, which is available in six different sizes and never goes on sale. The company closed a $55 million funding round in June.

As competitors like Helix and Leesa have helped solidify a veritable mattress startup boom, Krim says that Casper is focused not on competition but on finding ways to upend the market even further -- of which the Sail is a prime example. “They’re following in our footsteps and they’re doing things that we innovated on sixteen months ago when we launched,” Krim says of competitors, “and so we think it’s really up to us to continue to innovate.”

Related: Look Out, Casper: Another Mattress Startup Is Joining the $15 Billion Pillow Fight

Edition: October 2016

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