Mattress Mack: Losing ‘Pigskin Promotion’ Super Bowl bet absolutely worth it

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by KHOU.com staff

khou.com

Posted on February 3, 2014 at 7:18 PM

Updated Monday, Feb 3 at 7:25 PM

HOUSTON—A day after the Super Bowl, folks are still talking about Mattress Mack’s furniture deal.

Jim McIngvale, the owner of Gallery Furniture, is out $7 million after his Pigskin Promotion. He promised customers, who bought at least $6,000 of furniture, a full refund if the Seattle Seahawks won.

More than 1,000 customers participated in the promotion.

“Was it worth it? Absolutely,” he said.

McIngvale says he and his team worked out the financials for the promotion, making sure they could make it happen.

“No insurance policy. The customers paid for this and we paid it right back to them,’ he said.

It was a risk McIngvale said he was happy to take, again.

The furniture giant ran a similar promotion a few weeks ago, where customers were given a refund on their furniture purchases if they picked the correct NFC and AFC champions. That one cost him more than $600,000.

Losing millions of dollars would put many business owners in a panic, but not McIngvale.

Keep in mind he had two heart procedures back in September.

“I had a great night, my heart’s fine, my health is fine,” he said. “No stroke from the stress, just happiness for our customers.” 

One happy customer is Lee Anne Crain, from Cypress. She just moved into a new home and budgeted spending between $3,000 to $5,000 on furniture.  But when she visited Gallery Furniture last week, she said she just couldn’t help herself.

“With the promotion, I ended up spending $10,400,” Crain said.

Betsey Gelb, a marketing professor at the University of Houston, said Mattress Mack made an investment with guaranteed returns.

“Sales promotion, overall in this country, gets more promotion than advertising,” Gelb said. “The reason is, it rings the cash register.”

But was all of the exposure worth $7 million? Gelb thinks Mattress Mack may not be in that deep of a hole.

“The selling price of furniture is as much as twice as what it cost him,” Gelb said. “So what he did was take money out of his overhead, you might say.”

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