I thought it was a joke. Holiday Inn in London is offering a human sheet warming service. Apparently, some staffer dresses in a fleece suit, jumps between your sheets and warms them up for you. Really? Like who wants this? They assure guests that this giant Teddy will be out from between the sheets before you pop into bed. Well, that makes me feel better.

In word-of-mouth marketing, the concept of “talkable brands” refers to the parts of the brand’s DNA that naturally stimulate conversation about its products and services. What makes brands talkable can be breakthrough design, a category game changer or just exquisite customer experience. Some brands confuse buzz with a natural innate talkability that some brands posses or work hard to develop. How?  By listening to their customers and offering cool innovations or new levels of service that actually resonate.

Holiday Inn’s human hot water bottle has certainly generated buzz. I personally have told tons of people about this ploy. Everyone has gotten a horrified look on their face and thought I was making it up. Many claimed they would never stay at a Holiday Inn again because this was just too creepy. While people are talking about Holiday Inn, the brand is not “talkable.”

So far? My favorite news story of the year.

Cheryl Treleaven

Cheryl Treleaven


Engaging your customers is at the heart of successful marketing programs. For more than 20 years, Cheryl has been building and executing content and thought leadership strategies designed to do just that. She is excited to be applying that well-honed skill to a help companies like Microsoft, Cisco, 3M, Intel, Capital One and Barclaycard tap into their stakeholder communities and build sophisticated content strategies.

Her experience base spans a range of industries – from technology and financial services to retail, travel, consumer products and healthcare. Cheryl has served as an integral member of her clients’ marketing teams, providing counsel on marketing and brand strategy, thought leadership, media relations, product introductions, and event management.

Prior to joining ComBlu, Cheryl spent 10 years leading corporate marketing for large, complex organizations.