Next Generation Posturepedic for Sealy

Reinventing an established brand and market-leading mattress for 21st-century consumers.

The Sealy Posturepedic brand is an icon in the mattress industry, with strong name recognition among consumers. In fact, Posturepedic sales represent more than half of Sealy’s business—and have made Sealy the largest mattress manufacturer in the United States. The brand, which has been around since the 1950s, set the industry standard for making mattresses endorsed by health-care professionals to promote back health and good posture.

Sealy partnered with IDEO to bring Posturepedic into the 21st century by developing a new product that clearly delivered on the long-running promise of the brand. The design team set out to build upon Posturepedic’s heritage of health expertise, which began during the era of advertised endorsements and finishing schools. The first task was to sort out how back health has evolved culturally and professionally.

To this end, the design team explored holistic back health care, which is far more complex now than it was 60 years ago. In its early years, Posturepedic was endorsed by orthopedic surgeons, an emerging and cutting-edge specialty. Today, however, orthopedic physicians are the last people anyone wants to see: visiting a surgeon generally means one has severe back problems and needs surgery. In contrast to the early days, today’s consumers are far more proactive in their physical health—chiropractors, yoga trainers, massage therapists, and physical trainers have become part of people’s everyday lives. Recognizing this shift, the team brought this holistic evolution to the brand—and made sure that the mattress product itself had physically demonstrable benefits.

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Project date: 2011