Dial-A-Mattress: Always Out There campaign

William Baue


By repositioning Dial-A-Mattress, a seemingly fly-by-night operation with B-grade commercials, as a company on the cutting edge of so-called anti-advertising, the "Always Out There" campaign demonstrated the importance of taking chances. Dial-A-Mattress first took a chance by hiring Dweck & Campbell in New York, a young agency with a penchant for guerilla marketing, such as spray painting brand names on Manhattan sidewalks, to handle most aspects of the makeover. Dweck, in turn, took a chance by selecting 30-year-old John O'Hagan to direct the three introductory commercials in the campaign. Hagen, a 1996 graduate of New York University Film School, had directed an award-winning documentary for his thesis but no television spots. Dweck, which had very strong creative people but no staff producer, according to 31-one-year-old producer Larry Shanet, took a further chance by hiring Shanet to produce the spots, his first freelance assignment after working for four years at Siquis Ltd. in Baltimore.