MyPillow CEO Mike Lindell is embroiled in political controversy, but he says the brand’s famous late-night infomercials aren’t going anywhere

mike lindell fox news
Mike Lindell.

  • Mike Lindell told Insider infomercials are working well for MyPillow and are not going anywhere.
  • MyPillow has relied on the late-night ads, starring the CEO himself, to build up its brand.
  • Analysts said that by relying on infomercials, the company may restrict its audience – and its sales.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

Before he hit the headlines over his friendship with former President Donald Trump and his support for voter-fraud conspiracy theories, MyPillow CEO Mike Lindell was perhaps best known for the dozens of late-night infomercials he appeared in.

The company relies heavily on these infomercials, many starring Lindell himself, to spread awareness of the brand and drive sales.

It doesn’t plan on stopping the adverts any time soon, Lindell told Insider in a phone interview Thursday.

But over the last few months, MyPillow’s products have been pulled by at least 22 retailers, including Sam’s Club, Kohl’s, and Bed Bath & Beyond. Lindell previously told Insider’s Jacob Shamsian he expected this to cost the company around $65 million in lost revenue this year.

Read more: The MyPillow guy says God helped him beat a crack addiction to build a multimillion-dollar empire. Now his religious devotion to Trump threatens to bring it all crashing down.

As a result, MyPillow may need to rely more on direct-to-consumer (DTC) sales.

Analysts told Insider infomercials have worked well for the brand in the past – but it may need to knuckle down on social-media advertising if it wants to attract new customers.

Infomercials helped MyPillow to grow

“By using infomercials, MyPillow went from a tiny business into the massive company that it is today,” Iliya Rybchin, a partner at Elixirr Consulting, told Insider.

Lindell previously told Insider’s Kate Taylor that he run ads on more than 5,000 channels and 500 radio stations that span the political spectrum and that the company reaches “everyone.”

Lindell told Insider on Thursday that MyPillow uses its promo codes to track adverts and that “we view every single spot as our only spot.”

Lindel said: “Let’s say it’s 4 in the morning and it’s an ad on CNN, if that spot costs $1,000, if it doesn’t break even or make money we never run it again.”

The company has also ramped up its advertising in radio and podcasts because these channels are “booming right now,” he added.

In court filings, the company has said it spends an average of $5 million a month on advertising, per The New York Times.

The publication reported that Lindell spent 59% of its total television spending in 2020 with Fox News, citing data from MediaRadar.

Because MyPillow has always focused on direct consumer advertising, the shift from retailers to DTC sales won’t be hard for the brand, Matt Voda, CEO of OptiMine, told Insider. Lindell himself has said lots of customers have been buying products directly through MyPillow after retailers stopped selling its products.

Lindell told Insider that during the pandemic more people were watching TV so the company’s infomercials can reach a bigger audience than they could in the past.

Infomercials are a good way for companies to tell a story about their products and to educate potential customers, Voda added.

TV ads give viewers the trio of sight, sound, and motion, and lets companies bring their products to life, Jim Lecinski, professor on Kellogg School of Management’s MBAi program, told Insider.

This is something that MyPillow capitalizes on in adverts, where it focuses on the tactile benefits of its pillows. It also often airs its infomercials at a time when people might be feeling tired and the idea of a pillow is more attractive.

“With our branding, we are just doing stuff that works,” Lindell said.

Even in the digital age, TV is generally proving to be a resilient source of advertising, according to Lecinski. As companies increasingly turn to social media for the marketing, many are cutting billboard, newspaper, and radio ads – but TV is remaining strong, he said.

Through infomercials, companies can also collect an “enormous” amount of data, Rybchin said.

“One may look at infomercials and think it’s just a sketchy place to sell sketchy advertisements at 3am,” he explained. “However, direct response companies are amongst the most sophisticated advertisers in the world.”

Companies can monitor how many calls are coming from specific geographies, which prices and time slots generate sales, and who is buying. This data can then feed into their other marketing strategies, Rybchin said.

By using infomercials, MyPillow might be restricting its audience

But infomercials only have a limited reach – and especially among younger people, who increasingly shun terrestrial television in favor of streaming services such as Netflix and Amazon Prime.

“Longer-form content like infomercials is entirely foreign to younger generations of consumers,” Michele Romanow, the co-founder and president of Clearbanc, told Insider.

Another issue is that infomercials only have a limited targeting capacity, Lecinski said. Companies can choose which channels they air their ads on, and some networks may attract certain demographics of customers more than others – but this can have a lot of wastage, he said.

Striking deals with networks may also be harder for MyPillow to come by as the controversy surrounding Lindell continues, as shown by the number of retailers who have already pulled ties with the brand.

“Lindell has further risks of some networks cutting ties over his perpetuation of baseless voter fraud claims,” Eric Schiffer, chairman of Reputation Management Consultants, told Insider.

MyPillow spends the majority of its television advertising budget on Fox News, per The New York Times, and MyPillow is the leading advertiser of the network’s most-viewed show, “Tucker Carlson Tonight.” But in a radio interview last week, Lindell seemingly slammed Fox News and asked if the network was “in on” a conspiracy against him, potentially souring relations.

Infomercials are also becoming more expensive to run, Rybchin said. Most major networks are charging more for air time, which he said was driven by audiences staying at home alongside an influx of new advertising from DTC brands like Casper, Peloton, and Warby Parker.

Social-media advertising could attract younger buyers

MyPillow does, however, seem to be spending more on social-media advertising.

The pillow company spent an estimated $3.6 million on Facebook ads from January to mid-March, ad-data company Pathmatics told Insider. In 2020, it spent an estimated $2.3 million on Facebook ads over the course of the whole year, per Pathmatics.

As the US opens up and people spend less time watching TV, MyPillow will spend more on digital advertising, Lindell told Insider.

By investing more in social media marketing, MyPillow would have more precision for its marketing and could aim adverts more closely at its target market. Facebook, for example, lets advertisers target users based on demographics and pages they “like,” and even lets them import in their customer database, Voda said.

“While infomercials worked well for MyPillow in the past, and are likely still effective, infomercials cast a wide net,” Christina Eyuboglu, publicist and crisis-management expert at Adduco, told Insider. “Facebook is targeted, cheaper, and frankly, provides better control of who sees your message.”

On Facebook, it’s typical to have a cost per thousand people reached of between $3 and $10 on average, whereas for TV this generally starts at $25 and “can easily reach up to $45 or higher,” according to Dean DeCarlo, founder and president of Mission Disrupt.

Social-media advertising also gives MyPillow the potential to target a bigger pool of potential customers, including more younger people, Lecinski added.

Lindell told Insider that by using digital media, MyPillow can go beyond its traditional baby boomer market to attract more millennials.

The business mogul ultimately seems optimistic about the future of MyPillow, and told Insider its infomercials aren’t going anywhere. In a podcast earlier this month, he said the retailers who kept stocking MyPillow were “thriving.”

MyPillow has had to expand its workforce to cope with demand and more customers have been buying products directly through MyPillow too, he said.

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The 4 best down pillows in 2021

Table of Contents: Masthead Sticky

While most people might prioritize the importance of a mattress in their quest for a good night’s sleep, don’t overlook the humble pillow. It offers your entire body support and alignment and adds to your general comfort (or in some cases, discomfort), so finding the best pillow for your needs is important.

In the world of pillows, down pillows provide more breathability, comfort, and luxury than memory foam pillows. They remain cool to the touch and offer a plush “sinking in” feeling that memory foam can’t. It’s also used more often in hotels than memory foam, so if you’re missing the feeling of a proper vacation, consider upgrading your pillow to one of these down pillows.

Here are the best down pillows in 2021

The best overall

Best down pillow 2021 Pacific Coast

The smart pillow-in-pillow design of the Pacific Coast Double Down Around King Pillow Set gives you a mix of support and comfort with high-quality duck down and feathers.

Pros: Pillow-in-pillow design has a good mix of support and comfort, offers good support no matter the sleeping position, good hypoallergenic properties

Cons: May not quite match pillows you’ll find in luxury hotels

If one of your complaints about down pillows is the lack of support, the Pacific Coast Double Down Around Pillow has an interesting design to solve that problem.

The Pacific Coast down pillow has an inner core of feathers with a down filling around it. It consists of all-natural duck down and feathers in a design that is almost like a pillow inside a pillow. The inner core gives you a nice level of support while sleeping, and the down filling gives you a great level of comfort.

Pacific Coast describes the pillow as medium support, so it should work well for most sleepers. You get two pillows in the set, and each one has a fill power of 550. The pillows are machine washable and hypoallergenic.

Pacific Coast also offers a 30-day guarantee, so if you dislike the pillow for any reason, you can return it and get your money back.

The best with 750 fill power

Best down pillow 2021 royal down pillow

Filled with 75% down and 25% feathers, the Royal Hotel Down Pillow has a ton of firm support.

Pros: High ratio of down to feathers, firm, comfortable support 

Cons: Only sold by the pair 

Some down pillows are stuffed mostly with feathers that aren’t as soft or bouncy as down — and you run the risk of being poked by a stray quill. The Royal Hotel Down Pillow is filled with 75% down and 25% feather, so you’ll enjoy a luxuriously comfortable night of sleep.

Royal Hotel doesn’t skimp on the down either. With 750 fill power and 42-ounce fill weight for a Standard or Queen pillow, and 52 ounces for a King, you’re getting lots of comfort that’s neither too soft nor firm. Plus, the down is sanitized to remove allergens, so you can enjoy the pillow even if you’re usually allergic. The cover of the pillow is 100% cotton, with a 500-thread count, so it’s soft and smooth, but strong enough to contain the down.

To keep the pillow in the best shape, fluff them every so often for the highest loft and dry clean only.

For down pillows, the price is actually quite reasonable, but Royal Hotel only sells the pillows by the pair, making it a more expensive purchase overall. — Michelle Ullman

The best luxury down pillow

best down pillow 2021 continental bedding

The 100% goose down in the Continental Bedding Premium White Goose Down Pillow gives it a feeling of luxury that justifies its cost.

Pros: Extra comfort from goose down, uses an all-cotton pillow cover for breathability

Cons: Not as flexible as some down pillows, may compress too flat  

While price doesn’t always equate to quality, the higher cost associated with the Continental Bedding Premium White Goose Down Pillow is justified in its soft, fluffy comfort.

With 100% goose down instead of a mix of down and feathers or duck down, you get a softer and fluffier pillow with a high level of comfort that’s justified. It has a 550 fill power so it’s pretty supportive, and the pillow is hypoallergenic.

This also has among the widest range of pillows we’ve seen for down pillows and comes in Standard, Queen, and King sizes with Soft or Firm variations of each. You can also buy a single pillow or a set of two.

The best on a budget

best down pillow 2021 puredown

The Puredown Natural Goose Down and Feather Pillow has a mix of feathers and down, and doesn’t sacrifice comfort.

Pros: Includes pillow cover for comfort and breathability, very soft and comfortable 

Cons: Compresses too much for some people, higher percentage of feathers than down

If your eyes are widening at high prices you see for most down pillows, you’ll appreciate the price tag on the Puredown Natural Goose Down and Feather Pillow, which gives you two down pillows for the price you’d normally pay for one.

These Puredown pillows include goose down and feathers, which typically carries a higher price tag than duck down and feathers. But the pillows are filled with 95% feathers and just 5% down, which explains the lower-than-usual price. They’re soft but may compress too much under pressure, not giving sleepers the support they need. If you like firmer pillows, these may not be the ones for you. But for someone who might be experimenting with down pillows without the full investment, this is a financially smart choice. 

Puredown follows the Responsible Down Standard when it selects the down and feathers used in its pillows. These pillows have 32 ounces of down and feathers for medium support.

The 100% cotton, 233 thread count cover keeps the pillow comfortable and breathable while also protecting it from wear. The cover is durable and prevents feathers from leaking out.

Down pillow FAQs

What type of down pillow should I buy?

Here are the most common types of down in pillows:

  • Duck down is the least expensive type of down pillow. Duck down gives you a nice cushioning, but it does sometimes have an odor to it.
  • Goose down costs more than duck down, but it’s higher quality. Goose down tends to retain heat better than duck down, too, which is nice for cold nights. If you’re someone who sleepts hot, you may want to reconsider and go with duck down.
  • Eider down is easily the most expensive style of down used in pillows, as it comes exclusively from the eider duck. It’s incredibly soft and comfortable, but you’ll have to hunt quite a bit to find this type of pillow.

What is down?

Down is the soft, protective covering on a bird around the chest and underbelly, and usually comes from a duck or goose. Most pillows will consist of a mix of down and feathers for comfort, support, and breathability — percentages of 50%, 75%, and 95% down are common, and the higher the down, the softer a pillow will be.

What is fill power?

Fill power measures the loft of the down, or how much it rises when not compressed by an outside force such as your head or hands. This gives you a clue as to the durability of a pillow, as well as its ability to retain its shape. Fill powers of 700 and higher are the best quality because they retain their shape longer, though 550 fill power is the most common for medium down pillows.

Fill weight is how much down is physically packed into the pillow. The higher the fill weight, the firmer the resulting pillow. It’s important not to confuse fill power with fill weight. A 700 fill power pillow will not be firmer than a 550 fill power pillow with the same fill weight, but it will be more durable. On the other hand, a pillow with a 32-ounce fill weight will be much firmer than a pillow with a 16-ounce fill weight, even if they both use 550 fill power down.

How can I clean a down pillow?

Caring for your down pillow depends on the manufacturer’s instruction. Some down pillows are machine washable, which is convenient, while others must be dry cleaned or only may be spot cleaned. Some have removable covers that can be washed, while other covers cannot be removed. Be sure to check the care and maintenance before you purchase.

Check out more in-depth bedding guides

 

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