Before God invented Netflix and PVRs, you had to sit through a battery of commercials every time you turned on the idiot box. Most of them made you wonder why the hell Philo Taylor Farnsworth didn’t also invent something to block out commercials. Like Netflix or PVRs.
But occasionally, a television ad struck gold to where you’d sit through a seven-hour Cannon marathon to see it again. And now, thanks to the magic of YouTube (which we can thank God for inventing) you can relive the magic at the touch of a mouse. Here’s today’s nomination for Excellence in Advertising.
Somewhere along the line, the major corporations of America seemed to forget what people enjoy doing most on their beds. And, no, the answer isn’t sleeping.
These days, bed commercials consist of Christine Magee standing in the middle of a sterile showroom, blathering on about the importance of getting the right mattress to ensure a good night’s sleep.
Back in the’70s, however, beds weren’t for sleeping on, they were for fucking on, preferably after you did a Whistler Mountain–size pile of coke.
The folks at Serta obviously knew what was going on. In 1972, the company teamed up with famed party girl Joey Heatherton as part of an effort to drag its Perfect Sleeper mattresses out of the bedrooms and into the living rooms of North America. And almost overnight, heterosexual men—and gay women—across the continent made the decision to get rid of their Sealy Posturepedics and invest in a Serta. The reason: there seemed like a legitimate chance that when you woke up in the morning, Heatherton would be lying next to you.
The commercial starts out with the former child star, The Dean Martin Show regular, and future Playboy Playmate doing what looks like a No. 5 Orange pole-dance routine without the pole. What follows drips pure ’70s hedonism, and not just when Heatherton purrs “It gives you firmness and comfort—the perfect combination.”
From the low-cut jumpsuit to the whirling Studio 54 flares to the most come-hither perma-tan this side of George Hamilton, Serta is selling Boogie Nights–era sex first, and beds second. Tellingly, Heatherton doesn’t even speak until a good 20 seconds into the clip. By that time, your grandfather was already on the rotary phone, ordering two mattresses—and one Joey Heatherton—for a Saturday delivery.