Simmons Leverages TikTok to Target Young Consumers

Carol Feigenbaum |
 08/07/20 |
5 min read

Simmons Leverages TikTok to Target Young Consumers

When it comes to business, brands must be prepared to roll with the punches when the unexpected happens and shifts their plans. A perfect example is mattress brand Simmons. They recently experienced wild success leveraging TikTok to target young consumers during this lockdown.

Is this an avenue your brand should consider? The right social media tools offer clues. Let’s find out!

We will investigate how a brand can capture consumers by harnessing popular media, examined via social media listening. We’ll dig into:

  • Simmons’ campaign on TikTok – how they recognized an unused opportunity and turned it into big money.
  • How TikTok is taking the world and media by storm
  • What companies are using TikTok and other social media platforms to benefit their brand

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And here a few important tidbits to keep in mind:

  • In 2019, 70% of 18-24 year olds spent less than $500 on a mattress. Interesting to see Simmons target them and leaves one to wonder how else Generation Z differs in spending habits and why brands want to reach them!
  • 60% of Tik Tok users are Generation Z
  • As of April 2020, TikTok had a total of 315 million downloads

The Campaign That Earned 5.3b Views

Serta Simmons Bedding (SSB) realized they were missing a complete demographic of people by not having a mattress below the $500 mark. Generation Z typically sees their mattresses as a multi-functional piece of furniture. It’s where they stream their favorite movies, meet up on watch parties and post on TikTok. Taking that into consideration and understanding that in 2019, 70% of 18-24 year olds spent less than $500 on a mattress, it became clear that SSB needed to refocus their attention on this group of consumers.

They had a product that matched this segments’ needs and just needed to generate some awareness. And with nearly 60% of TikTok users made up of Generation Z –  SSB followed the trail and the social listening intel.

TikTok Campaign Planning with Social Media Listening

Gen Z loves a good musicfest and they were all cancelled. So, SSB put its social media listening to work and quickly created their “Just for Fun-zzz’s” campaign. In it, they encouraged consumers to reimagine their bed as a stage and “stage dive” onto it entering Simmons #Snoozzzapalooza virtual festival.

With lockdown in place at the time of their brand launch, Simmons had a captive audience.


Reaching out to TikTok, Simmons hired influencer partners to promote the challenge to their followers. This was key, as intel reveals that 44% of Generation Z has made a purchase decision based on an endorsement from a social influencer. So, the consumer and market intelligence was clear.

Using the hashtag #snoozzzapalooza, they seized this unique opportunity to be the first brand to officially launch on TikTok, and this lead to amazing results, including:

  • The six-day challenge garnering 2.3 million videos made by more than 1 million creators
  • The campaign generating 4.4 billion views experienced a 104% surge in traffic compared to a week earlier. And consumers have a lot of positive things to say about their offerings, as our word cloud below indicates.


Simmons achieved this by reading the market intelligence tea leaves, and understanding the power of influencers over Generation Z. And they captured key insight about this segments’ interests with social listening. But this is really just the tip of the TikTok iceberg.

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TikTok Taking Over?

Highly educated and growing up in the digital era, Gen Z kids are more expressive online, making TikToK their natural habitat. But who else is flocking to this visually creative platform?

If we look at our age demographic using digital consumer and market intelligence, we can see that TikTok is being mentioned by a wide range of people – mostly Millennials and Gen Z. However, older Millennials and Gen X aren’t far behind.


Statista has provided this excellent graph which shows that even though TikTok usage is on the rise, Facebook is still trending and the most utilized platform currently.


TikTok is the number two app being downloaded today, quickly growing with 800 million active users worldwide making it 9th in terms of social network sites. It’s ahead of  Twitter, Pinterest, and Snapchat on a global scale. That’s impressive.


And, as of April 2020, TikTok doubled its number of downloads in just over a year, resulting in a total of 315 million downloads worldwide. This is a 58% increase from the previous quarter.

TikTok is showing its strength – and staying power – and brands are taking note.

Brands Leveraging TikTok Today

Brands eager to reach Gen Z – or to just spread awareness of who they are, in general – are flocking to TikTok. And as they do, they’re keeping these things in mind:

  1. Sell experiences, not products. Members of Gen Z will save to go on vacation over spending money on a cool pair of sneakers. And According to Mention, 25% of what you sell is your product. The additional 75% is the intangible feeling that comes with it.
  2. Video, video, video. Oh, and video! Did we say video? TikTok is obviously ‘everything video’ so it fits for every audience segment.
  3. Rethink that celebrity influencer campaign. Just as Simmons partnered with everyday people as influencers, so should brands looking to impact Gen Z.
  4. Engage with customers. 76% of Gen Z have stated they want brands to respond to feedback, and view this responsiveness as playing a role in purchase decisions
  5. Highlight your dedication to privacy. Research from NGen found that 88% of Gen Z agreed with the statement: “Protecting my privacy is very important to me.”

A couple of other brands that are doing all of this and engaging with this Gen Z winningly, are Chipotle and Elf Cosmetics . . .

Chipotle & Elf Winning with TikTok Too

With a bio like “Less Tok, More Guac,” the quick serve company, Chipotle, is killing it on TikTok.

As a brand that’s not new to TikTok, they started the #GuacDance challenge, resulting in over 250K video submissions, and 430M videos. Soon after, they reported over 800K sales of guac on National Guacamole Day.

And then, they did it again during Halloween of 2019. Launching the #Boorito campaign, offering a $4 burrito to anyone that came to Chipotle in a costume on 10/31. They also understood the value of influencers as the partnered with @zachking and @dreaknowsbest, among others to boost their brand.


Social media listening reveals excellent summary metrics stats. We can see that out of 242,254 posts, they have a whopping 54% positive sentiment and a boatload of potential impressions:


And while customers are wiping the guac from their cheeks, Elf Cosmetics showed consumers how to freshen up and look great.

Using influencers to jumpstart their brand presence, they commissioned a song Eyes, Lips Face (E.L.F. their acronym) and a viral dance challenge where TikTokers would show their eyes, lips, and faces to the tune of the song employing the use of the hashtag #eyeslipface.

The result – 5 billion views and counting.

And your consumers can be singing your praises as well. Mastering marketing on TikTok isn’t easy, but it’s certainly doable with the right intel. Be sure to reach out so we can show you how to leverage valuable consumer and market intelligence to inform your next campaign!

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