A New York City mattress company may now be the most famous “Casper” in the world. Casper Sleep sells sheets and pillows as well through its website and is known for amusing and creative advertising that canvasses public transit systems around the country and pops up on popular podcasts.
But if the average coastal commuter is more likely to associate Casper with a mattress billboard than a central Wyoming municipality, the folks at the sleep company are familiar enough with the Oil City.
“Every time we Google ‘Casper,’ we definitely share the spotlight with the city in Wyoming,” said experiential marketing director Monica Brouwer. “Since day one, even our founders have been very aware of Casper, Wyoming.”
While the city was named after Lt. Caspar Collins, Brouwer said the mattress company was named after the founder’s college roommate, “kind of a sleep fellow” who was in the market for, you guessed it, a mattress.
And now, as the company’s promotional material has been putting it online, Casper is coming to Casper. Not to manufacture or even sell. But to help people sleep during the eclipse.
Camp Casper will take over land surrounding the Trout on Inn, along the North Platte River near Alcova.
The details remain a little vague — under wraps for the moment, according to Brouwer — but the camp will sleep an unknown number of visitors on Casper Sleep products inside canvas tents on the Sunday night before the Aug. 21 eclipse. The company will run shuttles straight to the camp from Denver, and food and activities will be provided.
Camping costs $499 for the “tent experience,” which sleeps two, and the first batch of tickets quickly sold out. Brouwer said two more ticket releases are planned and the company has been promoting the event through social media.
Alamo Drafthouse will be screening eclipse movies, including a mashup of eclipse PSA-style classroom videos. Yoga and flashlight tag will also be on the schedule.
Locals will also be able to visit the camp on the day of the eclipse for a viewing party by reserving free general admission tickets, though for those not staying at the camp, there are other viewing options in Casper (the city) with a longer period of eclipse.
Casper Sleep has done what Brouwer calls “offline” marketing and promotion in the past, including providing lodging during the popular SXSW festival in Austin, Texas, this year, and the company actually operated another “Camp Casper” — albeit on a much smaller scale — in New York City two years ago. That effort consisted of a small parking lot set up during the day that appeared to be more street promotion than overnight accommodation.
All this spurs the question, though, of just what the point of Camp Casper is. Somewhere between 50 and 5,000 overnight guests was as close as Brouwer was willing to specify, but it’s almost certain that this is a marketing effort as much as a revenue generator (the promotion also tends toward storytelling over research, such as the company’s incorrect assertion that hotel rooms in Casper have been sold out during the eclipse for three years).
Brouwer hinted at the use of promoting a nationwide company in central Wyoming. The camp and eclipse will be captured on photo and video to keep social media users around the world engaged and help build rapport with current and prospective customers.
“We really like to create experiences that bridge the gap between our online and offline community,” she said. “The event will definitely live on even after the viewing experience.”
Update, August 11: Casper has clarified that the camp itself will house 80 guests, though more may attend events and activities during the day.