Issue #45 - Simmons on TikTok

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Welcome to Good TikTok Creative!

We are Simon Andrews and Anthony McGuire, two people who have been working in marketing, advertising and media for decades.

We are very excited about TikTok as a brand new platform for creativity and think this topic is severely under-explored.

TikTok Case Study #45 = Simmons Dream Room

Simon’s Take:

Many of the brands we have covered in GTTC make perfect sense for TikTok. But what if you are not a cool brand or a youth brand? What if you are a player in a commodity market, where everyone is selling pretty much the same product?

You don’t get much more commodity than mattresses. The sector's inertia was blown up by the adoption of a DTC model when people worked out you could post a mattress and Amerisleep kickstarted a new business model. There are now dozens doing the same. 

As one of the original mattress firms Simmons needed to fight back.

In 2020 150 year old Simmons appointed an agency to reinvent the brand - letting them rethink product design, pricing, retail channels, brand identity and advertising – all aimed at wooing Gen-Z and young Millennial consumers.

Naturally TikTok was seen to have a role. Recognising that Covid meant music festivals were cancelled Simmons worked with a diverse set of creators to launch an online festival; #Snoozzzapalooza.

And it worked. As the TikTok case study shows;

Each of the creators uniquely imagined the challenge, transforming their rooms and creatively using the platform to showcase their vision of the ideal at-home music festival. This resulted in over one million people creating more than two million videos, amassing six billion total views, and an engagement rate of 20%. The six-day campaign boosted brand engagement through creative participation, raised brand awareness among Gen Z on the platform, and spurred at +107% increase in traffic to week over week.

But even with 6.4b views, is that working for the brand? SimmonsSleep has just 14k followers and 320k likes on TikTok.

So this year they brought in the big guns. Both Charli D’amelio and sister Dixie too. They had them design a mattress for creators and ran a competition to have Charli and Dixie help redesign the winners bedroom. The launch video from Charli got 45m views and one she did for Simmons got 22m - their previous TikTok got 20 thousand views. 

But the hashtag #Simmonsdreamrooom got just 46m views.

This feels like an idea that sounds great when shared in powerpoint, but didn’t come alive. Does this show the danger of spending heavily on creators? They have huge reach but maybe their fans are now used to seeing promoted products. Perhaps they don’t pay that much attention anymore?

Is there a lesson to be learned from the traditional sponsorship world? Do brands need to invest just as much for activation as for the creators fee? That’s the rule of thumb when sponsoring the Champions League or the Euros - spend a similar amount to the sponsorship fee on making sure people know about the sponsorship.

We all know Creators are an essential element in modern marketing. But they need to be used in ways that really land the brand and seize the attention of fans. 

Anthony’s Take:

Simmons found initial success on TikTok and then they wanted more. Off the back of the #Snoozzzapalooza branded hashtag challenge that resulted in over 6 billion video views last year, mattress company Simmons published an official TikTok Case Study. While they used smaller creators in the previous campaign, for their new 2021 campaign Simmons decided to partner with Charli and Dixie D’Amelio.

The D’Amelio sisters are two of the undisputed Queens of TikTok - Charli has 119 Million followers and Dixie has 53 Million followers. While it makes sense to want to ‘upgrade’ the type of talent you work with, it’s also well known that smaller creators can often drive better results.

Regardless, Simmons worked with the D’Amelio sisters to develop an actual mattress and then an accompanying TikTok campaign #Simmonsdreamroom. A competition/raffle mechanism is usually a solid bet for marketing campaigns, so the D’Amelio sisters encouraged people to post TikToks showing their bedroom explaining why they wanted a makeover and then the winners would have Charli & Dixie help them decorate it.

The strategy makes sense, especially for homebound Gen-Z who have spent the last year in a pandemic. In this article from House Beautiful, the D’Amelio sisters say, “We spend a lot of time in our rooms and particularly in our beds…it is where we get inspired, and where we often create.” Marketing mattresses is something I don’t spend much time thinking about, but it’s clearly a product everyone needs.

I was a bit confused with the wording of the product as “Designed by Charli & Dixie for creators like you.” Creators are a specific (relatively small) subsegment of Gen-Z, though in a world where every young person wants to be an influencer, maybe creator is a term that all young people can identify with.

Targeting Gen-Z is important, and Simmons using TikTok is a smart strategy—which Simmons’ CMO Melanie Huet strongly believes. However, bridging the gap between strategy and tactics can be tough. As Simon pointed out, the views of the actual hashtag #Simmonsdreamroom were fairly low at 46 Million views. Maybe millions of people entered the contest on the website and didn’t post any TikToks? Either way, I’m sure Simmons can take some learnings for their next TikTok campaign.

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If you want to dive deeper into TikTok, download Anthony’s free e-book on TikTok case studies or check out Anthony’s TikTok crash course.