If we don’t learn from the past, we’re bound to repeat it.
But in some cases, that may be just what we need to succeed.
Take mattress ads, for example. In the past, mattress ads focused on how people live, sleep and interact with their beds—something many mattress companies continue to focus on today.
That’s not to say today’s mattress companies don’t have creative advertising—just look at Purple. And even today—as back then—businesses are pushing the idea of better sleep, not just the mattress.
But there’s still a lot we can learn from ads of the past, as many of them have extremely creative, modern messages about better sleep and how the mattress helps people live better lives.
An old ad by Ostermoor & Company reads, “Nowadays, people buy sleep—not just the mattress,” which is a similar message mattress companies are pushing today.
In that regard, not much has changed in terms of what these businesses are trying to sell.
But when you look at old ads and see how they speak to the consumer on a human level, there’s a noticeable difference that’s admirable.
One set of ads from Englander confidently proclaim, “Better Sleep Makes Better Husbands.”
While it would be nice if that were 100% true, it makes a clever statement that speaks to men, and more importantly, women, who primarily had and still have the buying power in many households—while also adding some humor.
To further that point, another Englander ads says “Wise the wife who chooses Englander,” which really shows that the company knew who its audience was.
A different ad from Ostoormoor has the bottom half of the headline cut off, but it explains in the ad copy that even with half of the words cut off, people can still read it.
If that wasn’t clever enough to catch consumers’ attention, they drive the point home by adding that everyone who purchases an Ostoomoor Patent Elastic Felt Mattress (which at the time cost just $15!) can see its advantages over other mattresses with just half an eye.
There’s a lot we can learn from that past, and if we’re lucky, we’re bound to repeat the good things and learn from the bad.
Here’s a slideshow with more old mattress ads that might inspire your modern marketing messages.