The Super Bowl is far more than just a football game and since first being played in January of 1967, it has grown into an unequaled national spectacle. What started as a championship matchup between the National Football League’s two best teams is now more akin to a national holiday and has transformed into a full-blown economic phenomenon. According to Forbes, each year, Americans spend around 14 billion dollars on the game, behind only Valentine’s Day, Mother’s Day and Father’s Day as the largest single-day spending occasion. Understandably, Super Bowl Sunday, and the weeks leading up to it have become extremely important for businesses looking to connect with consumers. However, only certain businesses take advantage of this opportunity.
On February 4, 2018, over 100 million people tuned in to watch Super Bowl LII between the Philadelphia Eagles and the storied New England Patriots. And while the underdog Eagles may have won their first League title since 1960, one FrontRunner client celebrated a victory of their own; setting a new bar for funeral home advertising.
Located in the Syracuse, New York area, Schepp Family Funeral Home has three locations and a long-standing tradition of providing quality service to the community. However, this Super Bowl Sunday, the firm adopted a not-so-traditional approach to marketing their services by running a television advertisement during the big game.
The ad, entitled The Easy Chair, is one of a two-part series which also includes a video called The Server. Each features an older individual sitting on a couch, talking candidly about pre-planning their funeral. Not only do these videos offer some valuable perspectives and insight into the human element of funeral planning, but they are also wildly entertaining. On a deeper level, they are indicative of an industry-wide push to facilitate more dialogue about death and make the topic more approachable.
“Every funeral home around here is talking about price, price price. We wanted to do something different,” says Funeral Director Erich Schepp.
“In these commercials, both characters were relatable. Everyone has those thoughts and we wanted it to be a refreshing way to say ‘You should pre-plan’. At the end of the day, that is what the whole message is. These videos were a way to approach people with that message and ultimately make it more relatable,” he adds.
Schepp Family Funeral Home saw an opportunity to connect with people in a different way than their competitors. However, it was not a success that came from coloring within the lines. This firm really did push the envelope, think outside of the box and the results were awesome. Put simply, that is the recipe for excellent marketing.
With so many messages bombarding consumers throughout each day – it can be easy to get tuned out by the audience you are trying to connect with. Sometimes, it takes shaking up your approach and going outside of the usual comfort zone. The lesson for your firm is just that – if you have a fresh idea, try it out.
“I believed in them,” Schepp said of the videos. “It was perfect placement. People saw it, people got it and people enjoyed it.”
And from the reactions he has received thus far, it seems like people got the message he wanted to send. During the game, the fourth generation funeral director started receiving text messages from people who had seen his commercial letting him know how impressed they were. In part, this can be attributed to Schepp’s savvy social media presence. Before the Super Bowl, he posted on the funeral home’s Facebook page telling people to stay tuned, which generated excitement.
By stepping onto one of the biggest stages there is, Schepp Family Funeral Home carried all of funeral service forward – expanding on what is possible for even the most traditional firms. At FrontRunner, we are happy to celebrate our clients and in particular funeral business like Schepp, that consistently make contributions to the betterment of the profession. Though it was a win for one firm, it was really a true victory for everyone involved with this industry. If you want to know more about how we help Schepp Family Funeral Home stay ahead of the competition, we would love to hear from you. Or, if you want to talk to Erich directly, he is always willing to share his experiences.
When asked if he would do something like this again, his response says it all, “Absolutely.”
Brandon is the Marketing Communications Manager at FrontRunner Professional. He holds a Social Sciences degree from McMaster University and a Graduate Certificate in Integrated Marketing Communications from St. Lawrence College. His creative writing and innovative ideas bring new life to the company, FrontRunner’s clients and funeral directors world-wide.