Just make sure it’s the Nervous Nellie, a new mattress set designed by and made exclusively for Nebraska Furniture Mart. It offers a “night depository,” a hidden compartment in the box springs for valuables, so you are “waking up with exactly what you had the night before,” Buffett promises.
Buffett, whose Berkshire Hathaway investment empire owns Nebraska Furniture Mart, introduced the bed May 2 at Berkshire’s annual meeting with a skit that he wrote and starred in.
The skit is getting wider notice now on YouTube and Nebraska Furniture Mart’s Web site. And print ads based on it have started to appear.
In the skit, Buffett has been demoted to the store’s sales floor. We first see him snoozing away on a showroom bed — to the horror of Bob Batt, executive vice president of Nebraska Furniture Mart. Batt shakes Buffett awake with a lecture and puts him to work.
“Look, Warren, when you were chairman you could sleep all day and wait for the phone to ring. But we know how well that went last year,” Batt says, to much eye-rolling from Buffett. (Berkshire’s stock price dropped more than 30 percent last year.)
Buffett tries to sell a woman customer a couple of mattresses, including his namesake called the Warren. When that doesn’t work, he offers the Omaha Bedding Co.’s Nervous Nellie.
“This has been the best seller ever since the Dow fell below 10,000,” Buffett boasts.
When she spies the secret compartment stuffed with money and stocks, she’s sold. But then she demands that exact bed, thinking she will be getting the loot in the bargain.
As she runs off to make her purchase, Buffett lifts the mattress and starts unloading his money, stocks, more money, a Nebraska football, a box of peanut brittle, a can of Cherry Coke, a couple of vintage Playboy magazines — one of which he flips through and later intimates must be his grandson’s.
Buffett, of course, makes his money investing, not hoarding. But Berkshire Hathaway could fill a few of those mattresses; it had more than $25 billion in cash on hand at the end of 2008.
Since the Nervous Nellie was introduced, sales of the mattress — about $700 for a twin to $1,100 for a king — have been “pretty good,” Batt said.
“We wanted to create a buzz, and what better way than with someone instantly recognizable with instant credibility?” Batt said. “If you want to sell a product, he’s the guy.”Related Links
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