Mattress firm Wakefit recently announced ‘sleep internships’!
Personally, I found the video embarrassing. The host seemed more annoying than Trivago’s Abhinav Kumar (though, on repeated viewing with enough media money, he actually became endearing… something I don’t think Wakefit is planning to bombard us with). And some of the narrative cues were plain tacky, like the one where the host stumbles on the hand of one of the ‘sleeper’. It all seems so forced.
But those things pale in front of the fact that Wakefit actually paid an agency to come up with this idea (or, if it was done in-house).
For context, Urban Ladder used this idea for the 2016 April 1 campaign. They had sought Senior Mattress Testers, with ‘a love for sleeping that would put Khumbakarna to shame’ and ‘a complete lack of enthusiasm and drive’.
And aptly enough, they posted it to seem like a real opening, on LinkedIn!
The campaign, that got them over 1,700 job applications, was even nominated for the 2017 Kyoorius!
You could easily argue that both these campaigns are different. That Wakefit is asking for ‘sleep interns’, while Urban Ladder sought out ‘senior’ mattress testers… that the hierarchy is completely different. And that Wakefit is very serious about hiring interns, while Urban Ladder was merely joking, even if it got real applications.
Sure, that is a good argument, but then, take a look at what Sleepy’s did… way back in 2013!
Before Urban Ladder, Sleepy’s, a mattress retailer from the US, advertised for the role of ‘Snooze Director‘, back in 2013!
Too senior a role? Read on!
Several brands have tried the same idea many times, over the years.
On July 12, 2018, Texas-based Mattress Firm announced that it was looking for Snoozeterns, or, interns for bed testing! This is the closest to what Wakefit is now doing – interns for sleeping.
It was widely covered in the news and they hired Juliane as their Snoozetern, and even followed it up with a lot of posts about the winner!
And MattressFirm has been consistently on this campaign, creating multiple seasons and many more Snoozeterns, dedicating a page to them!
On July 13, 2018 (ironically, a day after MattressFirm’s announcement in another continent!), a European mattress brand, Simba Sleep announced that it was looking for Sleep Testers!
Simba promised to pay the sleep testers £600 to spend a month sleeping on a Simba Mattress while wearing a Fitbit Versa (both provided by the company) to track their sleep activity!
I’m reasonably sure Wakefit’s marketing folks didn’t dream up this regurgitated idea. The question is this, then: is it wrong to re-use an idea that has already been used by several other brands in the same category? Given the fact that this idea doesn’t seem to have one clear owner/originator, it looks like this is a common enough idea that anybody in the mattress segment can pick, run and make it viral, year after year. So, why can’t Wakefit use it too?
Of course, they can.
It’s just that when they also submit it for awards, it seems a bit disingenuous. The Social Street (agency) did just that, despite being pointed out that their outdoor idea was clearly inspired, and them clearly arguing that they are not the first to use the idea.
Britannia Good Day’s Slide of Smiles, by The Social Street, November 2015:
Volkswagen’s Life on a Fast Lane, 2010:
My mild protest, online:
Response from The Social Street:
The Social Street ‘wins’ an award for the idea.