When Tempur-Pedic (NYSE:
) promotes its memory foam mattresses, the company focuses
exclusively on sleep.
bedroom activity, is not mentioned in any of the commercials or
Select Comfort (NASDAQ:
) 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.
) 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
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
, 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:
) 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
"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 --
(fabric-encased innerspring) -- for what it refers to as the
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
Leggett & Platt has launched a new website --
-- 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
(c) 2013 Benzinga.com. Benzinga does not provide investment
advice. All rights reserved.
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