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Thursday, Sep 26, 2002

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Duroflex puts romance on the mattress

Rina Chandran

CHENNAI, Sept. 25

FOR so long as anyone can care to remember, mattresses have been sold on the plank of comfort: a good night's sleep and, perhaps, support for the back. Now, one mattress maker hopes to get consumers to view this household essential in a different light, that of romance. Duroflex Ltd. of Kochi has launched an ad campaign that invites consumers to "Bring out the romantic in you".

In a 30-second TV spot that has been dubbed in the southern languages, a couple is in a studio to have a photograph taken. Despite the efforts of the photographer to get them to strike a "romantic" pose, the couple demurs. But they quickly warm up when a Duroflex mattress is brought on the set. The spot will run alongside a print campaign with a similar theme, in the south.

The campaign is actually a continuation of earlier advertising also based on the romance platform, which was created in 1998. This year, the brand has an ad budget in excess of Rs 3 crore. Sales are skewed toward the festival season, the marriage season and New Year sales in the south, according to the company.

In addition to proposing a fresh look at the category, the ad succeeds on two other counts: "It is very consciously set in a South Indian ambience, the core market for Duroflex," said Mr. Manoj Chowdhury, creative director of Mudra Bangalore, which handles the account. "Also, it captures the instinctive behaviour of anyone checking a mattress, which is by feeling the quilting— where the brand qualities come into play." Care was taken to ensure that the theme was executed in a tasteful, sensitive manner, he added.

The rubberised coir mattress market is estimated to be worth Rs 350 crore, with Kurl-On the clear leader. Duroflex, with a turnover of Rs 45 crore for the year 2001-2002, has a market share of 20 per cent, according to the agency, and is particularly strong in the South. It has recently been introduced in the North, too. The market is highly fragmented with little brand loyalty, and a sameness of features that have "become a blind spot as far as the consumer is concerned," according to Mudra.

The decision to buy a mattress is never impulsive, agency research indicated. The need can build up in the consumer's mind for up to six months, so the brand must have top of mind recall when the consumer finally decides on the purchase. Also, rational arguments don't work very well beyond the point of sale, which is why the agency used the emotional route to try and push the brand into the consumer's consideration set.

"It is a unique way to sell a mattress, and one that has seen Duroflex move a step ahead of sleep promisers," said Mr. S. Radhakrishnan, Mudra's Vice President. "The implied benefit of recharging one's love life appeals to all, and is possibly the strongest emotional connect that is also clearly linked to the category."

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