Co-operative Funeral Care

Mel Elderfield (Sauce) - 16:01 25 January 2011

Personally I think they stretch the humorous content a bit too far. They seem to skirt around the issue of death and present the idea that everyone just wants a party and a good old knees up when they die. Perhaps this is true for some, and indeed why shouldn’t they have the funeral they desire, but are there not also those that want a quiet, respectful and traditional affair? Is this not going to alienate them with the suggestion that funerals should be fun, celebratory occasions? Further, if we consider their target market, we can question whether a discussion of death in such a light-hearted manner is even appropriate? Shouldn’t something like a funeral be handled in a bit better taste?
However, by producing as advert that could split opinion like this, the brand achieves a bit of stand out. It sets them apart as the funeral company that ‘get it’, at least for those who DO want a knees up when they die. And for those who want a more traditional funeral package, the ad could be de-coded in such a way that leads the viewer to believe the brand understands them as individuals. So although it mainly uses testimony from people that want more quirky send-offs, there is the inherent idea that the co-op can deliver all personal wishes. Essentially, that the brand caters for individuals, regardless of what they want.
Creatively, if you can embrace the jokey nature of the ad, it is cleverly executed, interesting and gripping. Firstly, the audience is initially left wondering what is being discussed; the ad does jumps in head first and is very direct, but does not explicitly introduce ‘death’. It uses individual testimony, from 'real people' in casual situations, to bring a personal perspective to such a taboo issue, and in such a way even suggests therefore that death can, and should, be openly discussed. It challenges us in this way, makes us a little uncomfortable, because it’s not really something people like to discuss.
Its clear what they’re trying to achieve here- these are taboo breaking ads that can award increased recognition, help the brand to remain front of mind among the audience due to its thought provoking nature, as well as extensive trade press coverage. They seek to shock, to make us question the conventional (and British) way of looking at things. Its not for everyone though; I think this advert may engender some love/hate responses. What do you think?

richard scullion - 14:09 26 January 2011

you say
Shouldn’t something like a funeral be handled in a bit better taste?
but isn't the point of this ad - we will prepare all as you want it - and you'll know that whilst you can?
hardly a taboo breaker other than restrictions on what ads can do have changed so ads can start to catch up with our cultural practices

Adam - 00:03 31 January 2011

I don't think this is much of a taboo breaker. Just because it may be a subject that has rarely been addressed in TV advertising in the past doesn't mean it is a subject that isn't talked about. As Richard says, this is a sign of ads catching up with cultural practices. Death is something that will happen to everyone - Co-Op have approached the subject using humour, a method that has high recognition levels amongst the British public. I'd be interested to see how you could be creative by using a different genre of ad to advertise the same subject - in my opinion nothing would be as successful.

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