Mattress Mack Refunds More Than $7 Million to Customers for Lost "Super Bowl Bet" Promotion

Categories: Sports

The front page of the Gallery Furniture website Monday morning.

Jim "Mattress Mack" McIngvale has always been known for his over-the-top promotional ideas and guerrilla advertising techniques. Just two weeks ago, he rewarded customers who guessed correctly that Denver and Seattle would end up in the Super Bowl with nearly $700,000 in furniture. For the actual "big game" (he couldn't call it the "Super Bowl" in his ads thanks to NFL restrictions on such things), he took it further, and it cost him ten times more.

This wager involved folks who were willing to spend $6,000 or more before 5 p.m. Sunday at Gallery Furniture stores. If they did and Seattle won (which, of course, it did), he would refund the money to those customers. According to reports, more than 1,100 people did and it cost the furniture store owner $7 million.

One might think this is a huge loss for Gallery Furniture, but this is a company that makes well over $100 million per year in annual revenue and is one of the most successful independent businesses in America, according to Try to imagine for a moment if 110 people in the span of a week were willing to drop $6,000 each on recliners, theater seating and mattresses (all without the frustrating "back, back, back order slip"), hundreds of additional customers no doubt spent under the mark required for the bet.

Let's be clear, Mack is no dummy. To some, he might appear to be crazy, but the guy is a marketing genius and this was yet another example of how he used a holiday or sporting event to bring customers in the front door. And it isn't like he handed them cash. The markup on his furniture probably runs anywhere from 50 to 200 percent or more depending on what it is. Even though he refunded $7 million, this did not cost him that much, and, more important, he brought in customers who will no doubt become repeat business for his stores.

Additionally, he turned a time where shopping is traditionally slower post-holidays into a sizable chunk of revenue. Not so crazy after all.

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Daniel Rodríguez Daál
Daniel Rodríguez Daál

All he had to do was post a very controversial tweet and he would have got just as much publicity from national news


I've been busting Mac's chops for years, but his charity keeps giving him cover.  One more time then, Mac was a failed businessman in Dallas many years ago.  (Nobody touches his bio, though.)  I worked with a young woman whose teenaged brother entered a contest Gallery Furniture was running for ideas on how to make Mattress Mac's commercials better.  He suggested Mac wear a tie.  One day he saw Mac in a tie and wondered where his $1000 prize was?  So he went to Gallery's headquarters and said he wanted to speak to the "boss."  (Thinking Mac.)  In the office was an elderly man.  "Who are you?" asked the boy.  "I'm Levitt." he replied.  (Of Levitt's Furniture and obviously the real owner and silent partner.  The boy asked about the tie idea.  "Prove it" huffed Levitt.  "How about I tell the media?" replied the boy.  He got his $1000, and nobody will ever do a thing to Mac and his crappy furniture.  One story did get into how sorry he is as a a "owner", but his past is taboo.


What's even more impressive is how the traditional media is pimping Mack's marketing like it's news.

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