Chart Watch: Are Pillows Hot Again?
My weekly report on the latest campaigns topping the charts
Soon after DRTV marketers learned the name Mike Lindell, pillows became a hot DRTV category. This takes us back again to the age of DR duels, and pillows were not exempt. In fact, it was a duel that marked the beginning of the trend: America’s Best Pillow vs. the Dream Sleep Pillow, which I covered in the March 2012 issue of Response magazine. (Amusing side note: The former commercial featured Marc Gill — second only to the late, great Billy Mays in terms of volume and perhaps the last voice one would ever associate with relaxation — promising consumers “THE PERFECT NIGHT’S SLEEP, GUARANTEED!”)
By 2015, all of the major marketers had gotten the memo that consumers were interested in replacing their pillows, so everyone rushed to provide one. See my vintage post “Pillow Fight!” for the flavor of the times. The trend accelerated and continued into 2019, a year when literally every major marketer tried at least one pillow. Don’t believe me? Here’s a rundown. That year: Allstar tested Slumber Zone; Emson tested Better Comfort, Zip Sense and the U-Fill Pillow; IdeaVillage tested Angel Sleeper; Ontel tested the Cool Gel Pillow and the Adjustable Miracle Bamboo Pillow; and Telebrands tested the Egg Sleeper. Of those, Angel Sleeper did the best on the charts, reaching No. 3 in August of 2020.1
One other marketer resurfaced during this time: Contour. Some 20 years prior, the Contour Leg Pillow had rocketed to the top of charts and stayed there for several years. In 2000, it was Jordan Whitney’s No. 1 campaign of the year. Fittingly, then, the revival of the brand in the fall of 2018 kicked off with the Contour Legacy Leg Pillow. It was a hit, a distribution partnership with Tristar was formed, and Contour was off to the races once again.
I mention all of this for two reasons.
First, I see that the Contour Swan Pillow (above) has now spent 10 weeks on the charts,2 suggesting it’s yet another rollout for the brand. Notably, this is the 12th Contour pillow I’ve logged since that first Old Gold revival item in 2018.
It also just so happens that this is another item I wrote about in my Promising Products Roundup (accessible to paid subscribers only). Now, to be fair, I claimed that weekly feature would be about “products that aren’t DRTV items — at least not yet.” However, I’d forgotten about this item, which tested back in July. Whatever the case, the design is similar to a 2011 Allstar hit called Side Sleeper Pro, which continues to sell on QVC. Actually, if you want to be technical, this product is closer to a National Express item Taylor Baldwin pitched back in 2014 called the Sobakawa Huggy Body Pillow. That is, this is the full-body version of the ‘candy cane’ pillow for side sleepers.
Second, a new pillow that first tested in October of last year is now a top 10 campaign. Top Dog’s Nuzzle (below) is currently No. 7,3 and watching the commercial will make it clear why that is.
I shared what I love about this creative back in March, so I won’t rehash it all here. Here’s the gist:
As someone who has scripted more than his fair share of commercials, I can tell you it was no easy task to come up with something original. Most wouldn't have bothered to try. I mean, this has to be the 349th opening to a sleep-product commercial in DR history, so there are plenty of ideas out there to "borrow." But that's not H-M's style.
Click above to check out the “weightlessness” pitch (and cool special effects) for yourself. It’s something special.
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It’s No. 35 on this week’s report (Week 38, 09/12/2022 thru 09/18/2022)