Mattress Company Shutters Web Publication, Pivots to Print

By: Jack Marshall

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Mattress brand Casper is launching a print magazine and shuttering Van Winkle’s, the sleep-focused online publication it launched in 2015.

The company said its new magazine, titled Woolly, will be published multiple times a year and focus on themes including comfort, wellness and modern life. It will be bundled free with some Casper products and available for $12 per issue from Casper’s retail stores and website.

Companies have flocked to so-called content marketing in recent years in an attempt to align their brands with certain topics and issues without relying on straight-forward advertising. The tactic has become prevalent online, but some companies, such as Airbnb, have since taken the approach offline with their own branded print products.

But according to Casper, Woolly shouldn’t be viewed as marketing designed simply to drive mattress sales. Rather, it says it wants to use it as a vehicle to link the company to subjects it “believes in.”

“This isn’t traditional content marketing; there are no ads for Casper,” said Lindsay Kaplan, Casper’s vice president of communications and brand engagement. “It’s not about building a revenue stream either. It’s really about owning the conversation around wellness and health.”

Casper has hired nonprofit publishing company McSweeney’s to help produce the magazine, which will be headed up by former New York Post editor John DeVore. (The New York Post is owned by News Corp, which also owns The Wall Street Journal.)

The launch of Woolly marks somewhat of a pivot for Casper’s media efforts from digital to print, a move that bucks recent media trends. In 2015 it hired four veteran journalists and launched a website called Van Winkle’s with the goal of selling ads and building a stand-alone media property dedicated to all things sleep.

The site failed to gain significant traction with readers, however, and will cease publication to make way for Woolly. Van Winkle’s one remaining editorial staffer will now work on Woolly instead.

Woolly plans to focus on a broader range of topics than just sleep alone—topics people might enjoy reading about when, for example, they’re lying on their Casper mattress. The first issue includes a “love letter to comfort pants,” confessions from your yoga instructor, a non-chronological history of snoring and a coloring book.

“When people buy a Casper, they cover it up with sheets, so there’s something special for us knowing this will remain on someone’s nightstand and remind people to get in bed, relax, unwind and get comfortable,” Ms. Kaplan said.

Billed as a “quarterly,” Casper said Woolly won’t stick to a specific publication schedule. The first issue, which is 96 pages, is available today.


Author: Jack Marshall

Source: wsj.com URL: https://goo.gl/dvPXGG