Marketing Genius or What Were They Thinking?

Do you find this as absurd as I did?

I understand the basic concepts of junk mail.

To advertise.

To make money.

While getting the same credit card offer every week seems a bit excessive and wasteful, at least mass mailings to advertise for credit or banking make sense.

Other services? Not so much.

I picked up the mail the other day and sorted through it, glancing at all of the junk mail to make sure it wasn’t “real”.

And I paused, jaw dropped, as I read this:



And I laughed, because it was the last thing I ever expected to read in my mail.

The laughter stirred my curiosity, and I found myself opening the envelope.

Sure enough, it was an advertisement, touting the wonderful perks of… cremation.

Cremation that is somehow simultaneously “free” and “pre-paid”.


And at the far bottom of the “letter”, in tiny font it said:

If you have to potentially apologize for sending a piece of mail, then it probably shouldn't be sent. At all.

Because that is so likely to soothe me.


What do you think?

Are they marketing geniuses (they did, after all, get me to open up the mail, even if it was to laugh at more absurdity)? Or should whoever suggested the idea be banished from the realm of advertising forever?

About Kelly K @ Dances with Chaos

Kelly K has learned the five steps to surviving of motherhood: 1) Don't get mad. Grab your camera. 2) Take a photograph. 3) Blog about it. 4) Laugh. 5) Repeat. She shares these tales at Dances with Chaos in order to preserve what tiny amount of sanity remains. You can also find her on her sister blog, Writing with Chaos ( sharing memoir and engaging in her true love: fiction writing. It's cheaper than therapy.
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12 Responses to Marketing Genius or What Were They Thinking?

  1. Katie says:

    Having just dealt with some of these end-of-life issues in our family, I think that while it seems strange and maybe a bit morbid to think about stuff like cremation or pre-paying for funerals, etc at this age, more people really should. Final preparations after death are incredibly expensive and can clean a family out if no one thought ahead. Albert and I have started talking about this stuff as it relates to our parents and to us.

  2. Annie says:

    Advertising cremation by mail isn’t a bad idea, but saying it’s free and prepaid is so stupid! They need to hire new advertising staff.

  3. Kate says:

    Interesting post and observations. I am on the fence with this one as I agree with Katie. But, think a more sensitive approach could get still get their point across.

  4. yeah … free & pre-paid?? like you would charge someone to pre-pay for their death? hmmm…

  5. Liz says:

    The addendum is the best. I’m all for pre-planned end of life wishes, but cheesy marketing about it is just wrong (but funny).

  6. Paige Morgan says:

    I agree that pre-planning is probably a good idea, but certain topics require more discretion. And yes, the disclaimer at the bottom seals their fate!

    My concern is that they wil be calling during dinnertime next!

  7. Wow. They need to ditch the disclaimer. While I’d suggest they consider a different marketing approach, this doesn’t strike me as roughly now as it would have before burying my mom &/or watching Six Feet Under. When I first saw prepaid funerals/death services addressed in Six Feet Under, I thought it bizarre and horrific. Now, having gone through the stress of dealing with matters like this as a loved one is days from dying . . . I think maybe it’s better that a piece of junk mail get them considering it at a time where it’s a little easier to deal with. I fully intend to have all this stuff mapped out before I die, assuming I’m blessed to die at 108 with 16 husbands, as I intend. 😉

  8. Stephanie says:

    There are things I would accept as a freebie, and things I wouldn’t. I think cremation/funeral services falls into the latter category. I mean, how are you supposed to know it’s a scam if you can’t redeem it until you’re dead?!?! What a weird marketing campaign.

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