Disrupt the category, Memorial Day edition

We are believers in disruptive innovation—the approach to marketing and product strategy that creates a new market by defying convention.  Here’s a fantastic example of a brand that did just that using Memorial Day as a tie-in.

Casper is a new mattress company (or “sleep,” in the category’s jargon) based in NYC. Their approach to sales is “not trying to sell our beds,” according to VP Lindsay Kaplan, speaking to Ad Age. Instead, their stores have no point of sale aspect. Customers are directed to their website for ordering a free 100 day trial.

The one year-old startup turned the Memorial Day weekend into a pun-driven promotional opportunity. Their “Memorial Day Sail” involved chartering a sailboat on the Hudson River for an afternoon of cocktails, sun and sampling the Casper mattress on board. The idea came from wanting to “take the wind out of the sails” of the typical mattress store and their holiday clearances. (Of course, being contrary, Casper does not do sales. Its bed is already less costly than other memory foam mattresses.)

The mattress cruise concept also featured a nice fundraising angle—the non-profit Charity: water which funds water for developing countries.

Creatively speaking, Casper’s marketing and advertising materials are category disruptive. Using New York’s subways, Casper uses clever and simple illustrated ads heavy on puns, showing their range of customers. Not a mattress in sight.


Their breakthrough brand retail strategy is super counter culture and very urban focused. Snooze Bars (pop-up style showrooms for Casper bed lounging and cocktailing) and a partnership with Uber, the transportation network company, are designed to catch commuters, as they sit or stand uncomfortably in transit.

So how can other brands take these lessons and apply it to their products? Something to sleep on.

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Direct Choice Inc. is a full-service direct marketing agency that has worked with national and regional brands in a wide variety of vertical markets. In addition to this blog, you can also find us on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn


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