Why Poppy’s is launching a new ad campaign

Poppy's ad billboard in sunshine reading: It's time to bury Victorian funerals on orange background

Four minute read

Poppy’s Head of Marketing, Jo Juber, shares the vision behind our first major advertising campaign.

Dan Wieden, the man who coined ‘Just do it’ for Nike once said, “Nike didn’t discover the power of advertising; Nike discovered the power of their own voice”.

While quotes about Nike are as cliched as it gets in advertising, there is a kernel of truth in here; so, indulge me.

Defining our voice

Poppy’s begun with one person’s voice — our founder Poppy Mardall. Back in 2012, Poppy thought the funeral sector could work better for people, so she started Poppy’s, initially from her bedroom in south west London. Read more about how Poppy's began.

Eleven years later, Poppy’s is now a flourishing business with fifteen permanent staff; and brilliant relationships in Tooting — where we are proud to call home — as well as across the funeral sector and beyond.

Like all businesses, Poppy’s has a brand. We have a distinctive and recognisable visual identity, including our logo, our vibrant colours and illustrations.

We have a growing reputation, which means that we are regularly invited to contribute to broadcast and online media on issues from the cost of bereavement to why you don’t have to wear black at a funeral.

Moving forward, not standing still

So far, so good. But in business, you can’t stand still. We want to grow so that more people can experience the outstanding quality of care that we offer to our clients, both living and dead.

A crucial part of growing a business is growing your brand awareness. Put simply, it's difficult for someone to choose Poppy’s if you don’t know we exist, or what we offer.

We needed to use the power of our own voice, but first of all we had to define it. Our start-up days are long gone — we are a growing, mature business and we want to connect with more people.

That could mean someone wanting to organise a meaningful funeral, someone looking for a career at Poppy’s, or someone from the local community wanting to work with us on a shared project.

As we grow, we need to connect with all of these people, and keep our disruptive spirit alive, a spirit that constantly challenges us to be the best of the best.

Going through this process is a bit like therapy. You must ‘do the work’ and put yourself in the shoes of others.

How do the public feel about us and about funerals more broadly? What’s going on in the sector and where does Poppy’s fit? How do we connect with people while being true to what we believe?

1861 called. They want their funeral traditions back

We had a lightbulb moment during this process. We realised that the way our culture generally approaches funerals is, well, strange. Strange because, over recent decades, so much of our lives have changed profoundly — including how we communicate, shop or think about mental health — but funerals haven’t.

We realised that so many of our funeral traditions — the archaic use of language like ‘the deceased’, the outsourcing to strangers, the all-black dress code — all date from the funeral of Prince Albert in 1861.

The way we often still do funerals today is not based on thousands of years of tradition, and it doesn’t really fit our lives today. Especially in a society where so many different cultural and religious traditions and personal beliefs are reflected.

This realisation made sense. This mismatch was the reason why people weren’t getting the funeral experiences they needed or wanted. And it explained why people are increasingly resorting to off-the-shelf online-only funeral providers.

The funeral sector is stuck in the past with outdated and rigid traditions. This needs to change.

We need a fresh approach

We need a 'new normal' for funerals — one which is more aligned with today’s world, where we expect to be treated with warmth and empathy by the people who help us.

A 'new normal' where outstanding quality of care for the living and the dead is a given, and where all funerals are tailor-made, not standard packages or based on preconceived notions of how a funeral should be.

At its heart, this 'new normal' treats everyone as precious — providing the kind of experience that we would want for ourselves and the people we love.

This is our ‘just do it’ moment. We are already creating a fresh approach to funerals for hundreds of people each year (read our reviews to see what this looks like). Now, we are using the power of our voice to spread this message as far and wide as we can. Will you join us?

Want to be part of this movement for change? Stay in touch with us as we grow. Sign up here for the latest news, updates, events and blogs from Poppy’s.

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