Serta thinks outside the box

The legacy brand taps Canadian Tire's reputation and distribution network to launch its new mattress-in-a-box.


With its new mattress-in-a-box, Serta is thinking outside the box with its retailer partnership: an exclusive deal with Canadian Tire, a brand not conventionally known for its bed and matress offerings.

A new ad campaign emphasizes the convenience of a boxed mattress by showing men struggling to lug a traditional competitor brand up a flight of stairs, all while a lone female Serta customer looks on, bemused.

Shawn Trinier, president at Serta Simmons Bedding Canada, says the strategy of the ad was to highlight both the comfort and quality people already associate with the brand, along with the convenience aspect the easy-to-transport box offers. The target audience for the campaign and product itself are convenience-seekers, primarily those looking for products for apartment living, children’s bedrooms or cottages, Trinier says.

Trinier says the partnership with Canadian Tire makes strategic sense, as the retailer has “done a good job expanding its home segment.” The retailer has made a concerted effort to move beyond the notion that it’s a place where mainly men go to shop and is stocking more brands that have a broader appeal, like Nespresso and Vitamix. It has also grown the home segment through brands such as Canvas furniture, part of a broader strategy around private-label brands and exclusive products, like the new Serta mattress.

Also, Trinier says, both Serta and Canadian Tire have national distribution and working with Canadian Tire gives it access to a network of over 500 stores. He adds that Canadian Tire is a 100% Canadian brand, and that Serta products are 100% Canadian-made (he says that the fact that it is a handcrafted product made in Canada, is important to its target).

The boxed packaging for Serta’s new mattress is designed to match Canadian Tire. “It’s a flat style and outdoorsy and fits the messaging and DNA about being an outside adventure retailer,” Trinier says. On the more functional side, he adds that the packaging was designed for Canadian Tire’s shelf dimensions, with the mattress compressed to fit accordingly.

Trinier says that how the product is displayed depends on the store. Some of the larger Canadian Tire locations have the mattresses on display to trial, while others have the products in end-aisles, and others only on-shelf.

As to whether this move is part of a larger, broader direct-to consumer move, Trinier did not comment. Serta is exploring its own nontraditional mattress retail options to reach a broader audience and fend off competition from direct-to-consumer, mattress-in-a-box competition like Casper and Endy that popularized buying mattresses online. Canadian Tire also gives would-be Serta customers the option to shop the brand in a retail setting that might be more attractive to some customers.

“We find that particular consumers may not want a shopping experience at a traditional mattress retailer and want something more versatile.”

He says that the brand is primarily targeting social media for the campaign, but running radio and TV as well. Designed by Mass Minority, the campaign was launched through paid digital and social media channels nationwide, with both English and French versions.