I was recently invited to a lifestyle mattress launch party in Soho. Yes it's official the apocalypse is in full swing. As far as I was concerned you buy your mattress in the DFS sale and stick with it until it resembles something you'd find in a crack den. It's fine; you can hide any hideous blemishes with bed sheets.
I know that everything seems to be a lifestyle brand these days, but I thought that our mattresses were too dull to fall into this camp. I was wrong. I found myself sat on a lifestyle mattress in a swanky space, surrounded by people who had all the characteristics of a famous person, yet were not recognisable in any way shape or form. Familiar yet unfamiliar; who were these people?
They call them influencers, and it turned out that they'd been paid by the bedtime brand Casper to tweet, blog and vlog about the mattress that is more than a mattress. We've previously spoken about how brands are now using people with small but powerful followings on social media to endorse their products in a way that feels more organic, more authentic, more real.
The thing I found difficult to get my head round was that this is a mattress we're talking about! How on earth has this most mundane of industries been infiltrated by disruptors treating their companies more like techy start-ups than traditional product based businesses?
Unbeknownst to me, lifestyle mattress companies have become big business over the last few years. The Guardian's Alex Hern shed light on how the likes of Caspar, Simba and Eve are running businesses worth $100million dollars a year.
So there I was sat on lifestyle mattress suspended from the ceiling of this Soho space.
'Only two of you can sit on these at any time', I was told on several occasions. Just in case I hadn't fully grasped the preciousness of the mattress.
It was hard to tell if these mattresses were a case of the emperor's new mattress, or the best thing since sliced bread. Was this absolute madness? Are we living in the end times? Or was this soft lifestyle mattress the solution to a problem I didn't even realise I had?
Funnily enough sliced bread is a pretty good comparison for what's currently happening to our beloved mattress industry. Otto Frederick Rohwedder originally invented sliced bread in 1912, but it wasn't until the 30's where it became all the rage in America thanks to Wonder bread, one of the forefather's of mundane disruption.
More recently, brands like Just Eat, Deliveroo and Airbnb have disrupted worlds that we probably didn't think needed disrupting. I don't think anyone was sitting at home ranting about the inconvenience of the fast food delivery before Just Eat. These brands provided us with apps that have added a layer of convenience we didn't even know we needed.
Admittedly, I walked into the lifestyle mattress launch party with an element of scepticism, but by the time I walked out I was already imagining how in fifteen years time it might go without saying that a mattress isn't just a mattress. After all, sleeping is a huge part of your life, and therefore doesn't it deserve a lifestyle brand?
While it may seem like a very city-centric idea at the moment, history has taught us that if a disruption makes a mundane task easier, it'll eventually become mundane in and of itself. The fact that your lifestyle mattress is hidden underneath your very ordinary bed sheets might just mean that it takes a little longer for this disruption to become a social norm.
When we hear the word disruption, we're wired to imagine the weird and wonderful. However, lifestyle mattresses and takeaway technology are proof that the most effective disruption is often the most simple and mundane.Suggest a correction