These times are ripe for quasi-utilitarian gag products that leek keen social commentary out the side of their wink-wink, nudge-nudge sideways grins. To wit: The Mattress Wallet, grown by Creature, an advertising and branding agency on Capitol Hill.
I do love a clever and locally devised product, and it’s a bonus when a decent story comes as a gift-with-purchase. Creature co-founder Jim Haven told me yesterday that as he and his creative team were brainstorming about the Oregon-based bank Umpqua not long after the financial crisis starting chewing on your savings account, one-liners and catch phrases were whizzing around the room when the one about the mattress-as-savings-receptacle just kinda stuck. The crew had always imagined that they’d step into the world of goods while still handling services for their clients, and the off-the-top-of-a-copywriter’s-head Mattress Wallet idea — well, it seemed to have legs.
Enter a crafty production assistant with a sewing machine and an intra-office objective capable of bleeding life into hum-drum spreadsheets and billing procedures (some companies go to Mariners games for the "bonding experience", others spec out the new Pet Rock over take-out in the conference room is how I’m seeing it), and then stir in one well-timed surrealer-than-fiction international million dollar mattress story, and you’ve got the perfect gag gift storm.
Brings to mind the old What will they think of next? — only in this scenario, with Creature, you might really want to know.
The Mattress Wallet is no bobble-headed Viagra-toting Bob Dole doll; you’re meant to actually use the thing, and Haven tells me a couple of his friends actually do. Think one of yours might? For now it’s only available online (and do check the above linked site – it’s worth it), but if you’re in the market for a Serta you might come across one on some showroom floor. Haven says they’ve had interest from mattress retailers.
Talk about a gift-with-purchase.
Oh, and yes, I asked: the wallets are being manufactured not in this area code but in China, and at this point they are not repurposing unused Sleep Number materials or otherwise upcycling. Maybe that’ll come with the Mattress Purse.
[Image courtesy Creature]