Think there’s no such thing as bad publicity? Trust me, it’s your funeral

Think there’s no such thing as bad publicity? Trust me, it’s your funeral

When I hear that tired old cliche “there’s no such thing as bad publicity” I cringe.

The classic Gerald Ratner “cr*p” comment is the one that most often gets cited but that was at least off-camera and off the cuff.

Plus, the only bad taste about it was the product, not the message or the media.

Let alone the audience.

Compare that to the astonishing ill-conceived Valentine’s Cards sent to residents at Whitegates Care Centre in Surrey with the heart-felt (profit driven message) “Sent with love from TH
Sanders & Sons.”

As if this wasn’t enough, the care home thought it was wise to distribute them! That was the “sliding doors” marketing moment here.

Take a pause, think carefully, politely decline for fear of potential office caused, let alone brand damage!

Nobody needs to be made to feel awkward, embarrassed or distressed – well, maybe some embarrassment for the funeral firm but they probably deserved that.

To make matters worse, the care home has since come out defending the actions!

They did so with some lovely little marketing messages too;

“We’re deeply embedded within the local community, and we value the support and engagement of all our neighbours, including TH Sanders. Out of their own kindness and goodwill, they have brought warmth, joy, and generosity to residents through various initiatives.”

Out of context, this sounds wonderful!

They go on; “From delivering Christmas blankets, donating to our charity raffles, sending in cards and sweets, to gifting seeds for our garden, their contributions have been received with gratitude and appreciation from both residents and our team members alike.”

How lovely!

However, this goodwill does not give anyone carte blanche to ride roughshod over a potentially devastating and raw time for any number of residents, their families, friends and their caregivers.

Apparently; “Residents were thrilled to receive the Valentine’s Day cards and they all had a lovely day celebrating.”

Well, you would say that wouldn’t you?

No press quotes are ever going to come out saying;

“To be honest, it was a tad awks for some. We had one resident taken to A&E yesterday and another has had family over all weekend as things aren’t looking too good but at least there was a jolly card to remind them of a local firm who can take care of their looming doom.’

The reply from the spokesperson for Dignity, the funeral director’s parent company, is far better mainly because they have admitted fault albeit they have then thrown the local branch under the
marketing bus; “We deeply regret any unintended distress caused by the Valentine’s card sent to Whitegates Care Centre by one of our branches.

“We are committed to maintaining a positive and respectful relationship with the communities we serve. We accept that, in this instance, our efforts to connect with the local community were
misjudged and not appropriate.”

So, still think there’s no such thing as bad publicity?

Take care,

Love Greg.