The Creative Business Idea™ Awards

CASE STUDIES: Sleep Number Bed + Hallmark Flowers

 A Global Competition 

In 2000, as the advertising industry embarked on a new century of marketing communications, global communications company Havas Worldwide (then known as Euro RSCG tossed out the traditional ways of doing business in favor of a commitment to brand building centered on transformative ideas.

As a mark of distinction to brands and the work created for them, the Creative Business Idea Awards were introduced as a global competition. CBI's acknowledge transformational changes to a brand's business strategy driving profitable growth. The cases are centered on a core idea so powerful it establishes a better future for the brand and its business.

The examples featured here were among the winners in the inaugural years of the competition. Both brands continuing to

thrive today.

Sleep Number Bed

The Creative Business Idea™

The idea: Everyone has an individual “Sleep Number” and once you discovered your number, you would have the key to a perfect night’s sleep. We took the heart of the product, its patented numeric reading of the firmness setting of the mattress, created "Sleep Numbers," and transformed the idea of selling mattresses to the larger idea of a new way to sleep.

A "Sleep Number" is not just the firmness feature of the bed. It is a language and measure that never existed before — it is the key to a perfect night’s sleep and a new means for consumers to quantifiably measure their personal comfort. It not only introduces the notion of a truly customized sleep surface (not unlike the fit of one's shoes based on their foot size) but gives people a new piece of knowledge about themselves.

The Challenge

Low interest category

Low awareness of the
Select Comfort brand

Retail locations not where
consumers shop for beds

High perceived price

Declining sales

Declining stock price

The Solution

Beds are boring. Solving the problem of sleep deprivation is compelling.

The solution: Change from a company selling mattresses, Select Comfort, to a company selling an idea: Sleep Numbers. 

The concept of Sleep Numbers introduces the notion of a truly customized sleep surface—not unlike the fit of one’s shoes based on their shoe size—and gives consumers a new piece of knowledge about themselves.

Sleep Numbers range from 0 to 100, and represent a person’s ideal combination of mattress comfort, firmness and support. However, a Sleep Number is not just a firmness feature of a bed, it is a new way to quantifiably measure personal comfort.

Everybody has a Sleep Number, and once you find yours, you'll have the key to a perfect night's sleep.

Everyone has a Sleep Number.
What's yours?

How we did it


The idea was executed in two phases. In phase one, the Sleep Number idea was poised to consumers in a enticing way, which through sheer curiosity forced them to find out about Sleep Numbers for themselves, “Everybody has a Sleep Number. What’s yours?”

With breakthrough media weight levels, a mass buzz was created about Sleep Numbers by inviting people to find their Sleep Number at the newly branded "Sleep Number Stores." Or, curious consumers could visit, where they could fill out an interactive questionnaire about their sleep preferences and receive an estimated Sleep Number. The first phase of the communication allowed Sleep Numbers to become part of the vernacular among all people, not just mattress shoppers, because we never mentioned that we were selling a mattress. 

The Sleep Number concept was translated to every facet of the company via a new visual language. Each retail store was redesigned to feature Sleep Number related wall coverings, promotional materials and signage, including a highly impactful new "Sleep Number Store" marquee above every entrance. The mattress itself was redesigned to feature mattress ticking/quilting with the Sleep Number design.

The consumer sales experience was changed so that when a consumer entered the store, the first question a sales person asked wasn’t “Do you want to try the mattress” but “Do you know your Sleep Number?” This served as an entrance into a bigger conversation about sleep, the individual’s sleep preferences, and then naturally led to the demo of the mattress, which was the only place a person could get their Sleep Number. 

All employee business cards were redesigned, and included each employees own Sleep Number as a way to reinforce to everyone who deals with the company that each person is different and so is their sleeping preference.


The results 

Awareness objectives were  exceeded within just two months of advertising. “Sleep Number” unaided brand awareness surpassed that of the original Select Comfort name. Traffic and sales objectives were exceeded after just eight months of advertising. Sleep Number sales were up 30%, and inquiries/leads were up 38%, verses non-Sleep Number markets.  As a direct result of this program, Select Comfort became profitable in 2001—the first time since 1999.

Hallmark Flowers

The Challenge

Hallmark is synonymous with greeting cards. The soul of their company is based on the exchange of the right “words.” With such an entrenched heritage, how could Hallmark create a new revenue source that was not greeting card related?

The Creative Business Idea™

Think about the emotional aspect of a greeting card. This is where the “Hallmark” stamp elevates the moment. We identified fresh flowers as a business that could leverage that same feeling and set out to create the first national brand name for flowers. To do that, the flowers needed to extraordinary. They were harvested from only the world’s finest growers and the production facility was set up in FedEx’s backyard to ensure less time in transit. What customers received were flowers that were fresher than ever before.

What We Set Out to Accomplish

– Identify a profitable category that Hallmark could enter quickly and really stand out.

– Convince Hallmark to re-enter the cut flower category they had tried previously but with little success.

– Develop a business model that would deliver on our desired category.

Since we were offering a better product at a comparable price, current category users were the natural target: Women aged 25–54 with at least $50,000 in income who were predisposed to the expressions category. They were currently satisfied with other cut flower offerings but when exposed to the new superiority of Hallmark Flowers they would appreciate it as a new standard.

How we did it

We changed the way flowers are brought to the consumer. Consider the standard delivery model: Farm-exporter-importer-wholesaler-retailer-You. This is a recipe for overpriced, average flowers whose best days are spent in a truck. By implementing a “direct-from-the-grower” overnight delivery model, we eliminated the middlemen. That not only ensured more profit for Hallmark, but also ensured customers the freshest flowers ever sent or received.

Where we engaged consumers

We designed logo identiity, collateral, special packaging, direct mail, store signage, POP, online and traditional advertising to communicate “organic elegance,” the essence of Hallmark Flowers. Most importantly, all design elements were positioned to reflect an air of premium quality associated with only the finest gift brands. This idea was also carried into Hallmark Gold Crown stores where customers could learn about Hallmark Flowers through brochures and make purchases at in-store kiosks.

The results a

The brand surpassed the leading direct flower supplier
1-800-Flowers. Even more impressively, more than 80%
of consumers indicated that they were satisfied with their experience of this new brand.