Purple Mattress: Selling Through Humor

by | Jul 5, 2022

In 2015, Purple launched after raising $171,000 through a Kickstarter campaign. Within 18 months, some of their viral ads had accumulated more than 53 million views, helping to drive more than $75 million in online Purple mattress sales in 2016. But how did a small mattress company quickly build and execute one of the best viral marketing campaigns in recent history?

It all started with raw eggs. 

The Raw Egg Test 

Since Purple was a small company entering an already saturated mattress industry, they needed a way to differentiate their product in a memorable way. While they created a series of humorous and informative ads, their most viral ad to date (with more than 189 million views) is the “Raw Egg Test.” 

In this ad, a woman dressed up as Goldilocks drops 4 raw eggs attached to a heavy glass slab onto a Purple mattress grid without breaking them. This experiment demonstrates how a Purple mattress has grid technology can support the weight of a large glass slab while still being soft and supportive enough to cradle eggs. This message set them apart and resonated with potential customers to the tune of millions of dollars. 

Using Humor To Sell

In addition to centering their videos around experiments, Purple also employed humor to keep their videos entertaining from start to finish. Bryant Garvin, former director of digital marketing at Purple, said, “We educate consumers in a way they don’t realize they are watching an ad … If you can engage people on that emotional level with a video, the more likely [it is] they’ll stick around and learn more about your brand and eventually purchase your product.” 

Going Viral Through YouTube

A large part of the reason this strategy was so successful stems from how Purple chose to advertise. Rather than purchasing expensive ad slots on television, Purple leaned into the viral marketing capacity of YouTube ads. This was especially impressive considering how tricky running a successful YouTube campaign can be with ads viewers can skip. Yet Purple managed to beat the odds and create a viral empire in a matter of months. 

What Can We Learn From Purple? 

So, how can you recreate Purple’s advertising success? Here’s what they got right and what you can do.

#1 Make The Business Unique.

Purple leaned into what made their product unique and made a point of demonstrating those benefits. When constructing your ads, lean into what makes your business special and sets you apart from the competition. 

#2 Connect Through ‘Edutainment.’ 

Content that is both educational and entertaining helped to set Purple apart and increase their audience’s overall interest in their product. It also allowed them to capture the attention of potential buyers for longer and build rapport. You can create your own engaging advertising campaigns through integrating more humor, educational material, and entertaining aspects into your campaigns when appropriate and relevant. 

#3 Know When And Where To Advertise.

Purple focused the majority of their advertising budget on YouTube. While this isn’t the best strategy for every type of business, it shows that knowing when and where to advertise your product is crucial to building a winning strategy. That’s why consistently evaluating your marketing data and leaning into the advertising strategies for your business lead to success. 

By focusing on entertainment value, differentiation, and virality, Purple mattress broke into a saturated market and built a recognizable mattress name. Their success shows how a great marketing campaign has the power to push a previously unknown brand to mainstream recognition. By integrating some of their strategy into your own campaigns, you too can improve your ability to connect with your audience and share relatable content.

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