On Bedding : Beds Gelling at High Point
Gel is the Cool New Mattress Ingredient at Fall MarketNovember 2011 By Howard Whitman
If there was any clear-cut trend in view among the new bedding offerings at October's High Point Market, it was gel.
In the wake of Serta's breakthrough success with its gel-infused iComfort mattresses, many bedding manufacturers have rolled out their own gel-based products.
Why the sudden move towards gel? The material is viewed as a solution to the most common complaint about Visco memory foam-based beds: that they sleep hot. The belief is that gel has properties that enable consumers to sleep cooler when on beds made with gel-infused foam or gel-based layers.
Besides that, gel is new, different, and the word "gel"—well, it just sounds cool.
But the rapid emergence of gel has created its own controversy: What constitutes a true gel bed? Similar to what happened a few years back when a number of bedding vendors were coming out with eco-themed beds that incorporated terms like "green", "organic" and "natural" in their names and marketing, there are varying trains of thought on what makes a bed a gel model. Some gel beds are memory foam with beads or swirls of gel material; gel has been added to latex as well; and some beds feature layers of 100 percent gel.
Another strong trend at Market: Adjustable beds also continue to gain headway in this sector. Also, bedding vendors continue to roll out new promotional/marketing efforts, with a strong focus on social media and the Internet.
Here are some of the gel and adjustable models we saw at High Point Market, along with other products and promotional efforts of interest from the various manufacturers there.
Rather than rolling out new products—that will occur at the January Las Vegas Market—Sealy announced its "Whatever you do in bed, Sealy supports it" ad campaign recently won an award from the American Association of Advertising Agencies; the company also promoted its new Bed Buddies Facebook program, which will enable the company to learn more about its consumers, create a forum for discussion of its products, and increase customer awareness of Sealy mattresses through contests, announcements and special promotions.
Serta, also holding off on new product releases until Vegas, using its High Point presence to promote the ongoing success of its iComfort beds and add-ons. Company promo programs include offering two free iComfort pillows with the purchase of a mattress; huge ad and TV pushes for Veterans Day and Black Friday; and a timely President's Day offer of a free fleece blanket with the purchase of an iComfort or Perfect Sleeper mattress.