If you watch any TV at all, you may have seen the ad. Make that, if you watch any TV at all, you’ve no doubt seen the ad. (Even if you never turn on Fox, which is where the most heavy advertising is done.)
Mr. Midwest Nice Guy is on there, touting the glories of My Pillow, a “patented open-cell, poly-foam design” created by himself, Mr. Midwest Nice Guy, Mike Lindell of Chaska, Minnesota. With My Pillow – gloriously making America great again by being made right here in the good old US of A – Mr. Lindell promised you a money-back guarantee good night’s sleep.
Winkin’, Blinkin’, and Nod, in the form of a couple of consumer protection groups, weren’t so convinced. In fact, they were pretty certain that My Pillow might not be any more effective than counting sheep. (Or than my favorite remedy: turning the light on and reading)
My Pillow claimed it could prevent sleep loss associated with insomnia, restless leg syndrome, neck pain, fibromyalgia, sleep apnea, migraines and other ailments. This caught the skeptical eye of consumer watchdog group Truth in Advertising.org, which investigated the claims and argued there was no support from scientific evidence. (Source: Washington Post.)
In truth, I don’t really need My Pillow. I don’t have insomnia, restless leg syndrome, neck pain, fibromyalgia, sleep apnea, or migraines. And since I don’t really have to keep to much of a schedule, if I can’t sleep, I just get up, turn on the light, read for a while, and promise myself a lie-in or nap if I end up feeling sleep deprived. Still, I did see the ad and, as I needed a couple more pillows, I did consider ordering one. Made in the US appealed, as, frankly, did the idea of the guy who invented it being the front man for it. But it’s actually easier to pick a pillow up, using one of the continual stream of coupons I get from them, at Bed, Bath & Beyond. Plus, legging it out the BB&B gives me a decent enough walk that I’m bound to get a good night’s sleep, even if I’m on a bed (or pillow) of nails.
But, as another TV advertising pitchman used to claim, wait, there’s more. I was going to call the late Billy Mays a huckster, but I use OxyClean prewash on stains, and it does pretty much seem to work. Not so much My Pillow.
TINA.org also took issue with the fact that Lindell used the title of “sleep expert,” though he had no formal training as such. My Pillow promoted itself as the official pillow of the National Sleep Foundation — without disclosing the company had a financial relationship with the organization. The consumer group said it supplied information from its investigation to officials in California, one of the states where My Pillow advertises.
Lindell may not be a sleep expert, but he’s got TV promotion down pat. Since 2005, he’s sold 18 million of those pillows, and his company has been raking in $100M for the last few years.
But then he got 10 DA’s in California suing his company for “deceptive and false advertisements.”
On the same day that the district attorneys filed the suit, My Pillow settled for civil penalties amounting to $1,095,000, $995,000 of which will be allocated to the California counties. The settlement also appears to have smothered the pillow company’s public relationship with the National Sleep Foundation. TINA.org said that prior to the suit, the foundation sold the pillows on its website but it no longer does so.
National Sleep Foundation: tsk, tsk, tsk. You really should have known better. Bet this situation has caused some sleepless nights over there.
As for My Pillow, for now it’s stopped making its fake-o medical claims, and will cease and desist until and unless it actually has proof from clinical trials that the pillow actually does provide relief from fibromyalgia, etc.
Lindell has put out a statement, of course, indicating that they settled to avoid a protracted, expensive court battle, and that they were not admitting anything.
But this can’t be helping their business any. Nor can Lindell’s endorsement of Donald J. Trump, famous for his stronger-than-the-norm preference for sleeping in his own bed. Although I’m sure that any business lost was counterbalanced by Trump U grads who decided to make a purchase. No more tossing and turning over whether your investment in a Trump U “degree” was paying off…
It will be interesting to see whether My Pillow will actually take a hit.
The more that I think about it, the less likely I think it will. We do seem to have an awful lot of people out there who don’t seem to mind being conned. Especially if they think they can get a good night’s sleep out of it.
And a tip of the night-cap to my sister Kath, who sent this one my way, captioned “Shill of the Day.” I’ll say.