The story of Mattress Mick, a Dublin based mattress sales man and his loyal worker Paul, who have embraced social media and degradation to improve sales and turn a failing business into an internationally known brand.
Viral marketing has become a necessity of any modern business, from the biggest brands to the smallest company, it has become one of those things that all have had to contend with. Mick Flynn was a mattress salesman with a good business and then the recession hit, and it hit him hard, but rather than fall to the floor, he stood up and with massive amounts of help from Paul Kelly, they created the character of Mattress Mick. With viral video’s and a totally lack of caring how the world sees him Mick managed to turn the business around. International stars such as Stephen Fry and Angelina Jolie have commented on this Dublin based business man and we join him on the most ambitious marketing step ever, a rap video.
Living in Dublin you hear about local celebrities, people who set themselves out from the rest of the crowd, and Mattress Mick is one of them. His videos are something unreal as they hint back to the advertising we used to see on Irish TV during the 70’s or 80’s while using modern green screen techniques. I honestly thought that this documentary about Mick and his company was going to be light hearted and just fluffy. What you get is a social commentary on modern Ireland with laughs, tears, and I’m pleasantly shocked to say that you get suspense in there as well. The film does not focus on Mick as much as you are lead to believe. We see Mick’s right hand man, social media worker, and creative force behind the online persona, Paul Kelly struggling to make ends meet and win a place in the company.
Paul is painted as a half a step in front of the debt collectors and is still on welfare payments despite bringing in extra cash for Mick. He works in one of the shops and trolls the internet for new chances to push the business. He wants Mick to compliment him on his work, while keeping his family together. Through this journey on the film we see that he fails at both. But like Mick, Paul is a fighter, he fights through every possible slap and knock down you can imagine a man to receive and then stands up and looks for more. There are moments through the documentary where you think Paul is lying to himself because he wants more than you think Mick is willing to give.
The film gives us several false endings and for anyone thinking of starting their own business it’s a must watch experience as they show that you’re not out of the fight until you are out of the fight. When you learn that Paul has made a horrible mistake in the business you start to feel that you know how this is going to end. You have to keep watching. At 81 minutes the film does not overstay the welcome you offer it. The one problem that I had with the film is how they create a villain to the piece in the way of a professional producer who comes in to try make things slicker. The man was asked to help by Mick but Paul treats him as though he’s a thief in the night and the documentary does nothing to sway this opinion.
Most documentaries about Ireland you wonder how well they will travel to other countries, we’re a unique bunch, but Mattress Men should be watched the world over. It’s a truly beautiful story of hope and endurance. Uplifting, funny, sad, tense, and a story of two men who have been battered by the financial crisis who will not give up. This for me is one of the best documentaries of 2016 and I can’t wait to go see it again.