Leggett & Platt Wants to Bring Sex Back to the Bedroom

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When Tempur-Pedic (NYSE: TPX ) promotes its memory foam mattresses, the company focuses exclusively on sleep.

Sex, the other popular bedroom activity, is not mentioned in any of the commercials or infomercials.

Select Comfort (NASDAQ: SCSS ) has also chosen to focus specifically on the sleep experience that comes with a Sleep Number bed.

This has been the tradition of the mattress industry, which has ironically shied away from the topic of sex. It can be used to sell beer, soda, candy, computers, fast food, cereal, televisions, cars, movies, video games and virtually everything else you can imagine -- but not a mattress.

Sealy (NYSE: ZZ ) was the first to buck this trend when it produced a commercial for the Super Bowl in 2011. During a 30-second spot entitled "Afterglow," several happy couples were shown in bed together, followed by two taglines: "It's better on springs" and "Whatever you do in bed, Sealy supports it."

That ad may have been amusing, but the viewing public seemed to have been lost on the message: if you intend to use a mattress for anything other than sleep, you are better off buying one with springs.

This is because traditional mattresses are bouncy, but memory foam mattresses conform to the body and create a sinking sensation. Thus, consumers have been left with two choices: they can either buy a mattress for great sleep or buy one for great sex.

According to Barron's , most memory foam mattress buyers either care more about sleep and are willing to put up with the added challenge -- or take sex out of the bedroom.

Leggett & Platt (NYSE: LEG ) hopes to change that. The company -- which designs and produces engineered components and products for the home furnishings and fixtures industries -- produces a memory foam alternative that attempts to combine the best of both worlds.

"The research shows that when people were in the market for a mattress, they were thinking about the comfort of the bed," Mark Quinn, Segment VP of Marketing at Leggett & Platt, told Benzinga. "It did not dawn on anybody that they should have considered the intimacy factor until it was too late. They'd buy the bed, get the bed home, find out that it was not a great thing for intimacy, and then they're kind of stuck with an expensive memory foam bed."

The aforementioned Barron's article inspired Leggett & Platt to conduct a study of its own and find out what consumers want.

"When all that stuff started to come out, that created an opportunity for us to have a conversation with the consumer and really educate them a bit about the fact that there are physics involved here and you do want something that returns energy to you," said Quinn. "We call it a 'playful bounce.' Our product is designed to be really great about motion separation so you don't feel the [other] person get up and out of the bed, but still [have] that return of energy. That's the coil part of that, the innerspring.

"The comfort side is that you can still get the benefit of memory foam or latex or gel as a comfort layer inside of the bed. Innersprings can sleep up to 28 percent cooler [than traditional memory foam mattresses]. You get the best of both worlds."

Unlike Tempur-Pedic, Leggett & Platt does not actually produce new mattresses. Instead, it produces the components -- such as Comfort Core (fabric-encased innerspring) -- for what it refers to as the Ultimate Hybrid.

Serta, Banner, Rest Assured, Fox Mattresses and Custom Comfort are among the manufacturers that use Leggett & Platt's Ultimate Hybrid technology. Sherwood produces one such mattress that has an MSRP of $599 -- far less than the cheapest Tempur-Pedic bed available.

Leggett & Platt has launched a new website -- hybrid-mattresses.com -- that provides a full list of the Ultimate Hybrid beds that are already in stores.

"Nobody has done what we are in the process of doing, which is to say, 'Look -- we sleep in our bed, watch television in our bed, we game, we talk on the phone, we work on our laptops,'" said Quinn. "'A lot of stuff happens in the bedroom, and one of those things is intimacy.'"

Louis Bedigian is the Senior Tech Analyst and Features Writer of Benzinga. You can reach him at 248-636-1322 or louis(at)benzingapro(dot)com. Follow him @LouisBedigianBZ

(c) 2013 Benzinga.com. Benzinga does not provide investment advice. All rights reserved.

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The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of The NASDAQ OMX Group, Inc.



This article appears in: Investing , Stocks

Referenced Stocks: LEG , SCSS , TPX

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