CHICAGO – Mattress company Serta Simmons Bedding LLC has asked a judge to put to sleep an ad campaign from furniture retailer, Bob’s Discount Furniture, in which Simmons alleges Bob's used a comparison of one of its mattresses to one of Simmons’ patented mattresses to mislead consumers to believe Bob’s offers the same mattress for a much lower price.
The complaint was filed Sept. 19 in Chicago federal court. The plaintiffs have requested a trial by jury and allege false advertising and deceptive trade practices. They are asking for an order for Bob's to permanently remove the commercials online, as well as injunctive relief and damages.
The complaint states that Bob’s advertisements have affected Simmons and Serta’s reputation and sales.
The suit focused on a recent string of television ads run by Connecticut-based Bob’s Discount Furniture, comparing Bob’s Black Label Gel Euro-Top Mattress to Simmons Beautyrest Black Mattress.
Simmons alleges Bob’s mattress does not contain their proprietary Micro Diamond Memory Foam, patented Advanced Pocketed Coil Technology and fabrics that are used in Simmons’ Beautyrest Black mattress. Nonetheless, they allege Bob’s commercial purportedly implies that both mattresses contain the same elements.
Simmons purportedly sent a cease-and-desist letter regarding the original commercial in May, the complaint states. The commercial shows side-by-side comparisons of the Beautyrest Black and Bob’s mattress, saying, “'So, besides the fancy logo, what’s another big difference? Well, theirs is priced at a whopping $2,799, while ours is priced at only $999. Plus, you get the satisfaction of knowing you didn’t just spend $1,800 on a fancy logo,'” according to the suit.
Bob’s responded in June, but did not say whether it would take the advertisement down, the complaint states.
The plaintiffs allege Bob’s released another commercial shortly after their response. In addition to the side-by-side comparisons, they allege this commercial also shows a list of the components in each mattress taken over a photo of the top of both mattresses. The ad ends this time by saying, “'Sure, they’re not exactly the same, but you be the judge. Theirs is priced at a whopping $2,799, while ours is priced at only $999. Dare to compare at Bob’s Discount furniture, in store or at mybobs.com,'” the suit states
The plaintiffs claim the advertisements imply that the only difference between the mattresses is Bob’s lower price, which Simmons says is still deceiving to potential customers.
The complaint states, in 2013, a similar problem arose when Bob’s was ordered to pull a television commercial claiming their mattresses had “twice the gel-infused memory foam at half the price” of Serta’s mattresses. In that instance, Bob’s acknowledged in a response letter it would stop the advertisement and shortly after took the misleading commercial down, the complaint states.
Bob’s had not responded at the time of publishing.
Simmons is represented by Nicole Murray and Michael Fleck of Quarles and Brady LLP of Chicago.
U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois case number 1:17-cv-6768