As the UK’s leading funeral care provider, Co-op Funeralcare understands what puts people off talking about death and bereavement. But it wanted to identify why the nation struggles with such taboos and, consequently, find a way to act with charities and third-parties to tackle this.
Co-op Funeralcare commissioned YouGov to conduct its Biggest Ever Survey into Death, Dying and Bereavement, but prior to launch met with journalists from publications, including The Guardian and Press Association, to engage them in the upcoming campaign and push up its response rate. A national press release was also sent.
This interaction secured almost 600 pieces of coverage, including 339 broadcast items, reaching more than 61 million consumers. An email was also sent to more than 1.5 million Co-op members, to raise awareness of the survey and put the campaign on their radar.
And the survey was promoted via Co-op’s social platforms, reaching more than 158,000 people with more than 108,000 impressions. Television presenter Jeff Brazier, former partner of Jade Goody, also undertook a day of radio interviews to raise awareness.
Internally, Co-op held an event for colleagues, posted a series of articles on the intranet and did leaflet drops to encourage them to complete the survey.
The survey was open for six weeks. To sustain momentum, a second press release was issued while charity partners were also encouraged to share the survey across their platforms.
More than 30,000 people completed the survey, sharing their thoughts on death, dying and bereavement. The findings Making peace with death revealed almost 18 million people are uncomfortable talking about death while five million would not discuss their own mortality. One in seven who had been recently bereaved said people did not know what to say, while one in six did not reveal their loss, possibly to avoid awkward conversations.
But critically, most people make no plans for their own deaths, leaving bereaved relatives to pick up the bill. Four million people have suffered financial hardship as a result.
Once the survey closed, Co-op Funeralcare reviewed the data at a round table event hosted by Welsh theologian Professor Douglas Davies, attended by charities, influencers and third parties, such as the National Association of Funeral Directors, to identify areas that needed acting upon.
Journalists at The Times, The Sun and ITV were briefed prior to the release of the report. An embargoed press release, social media activity and radio interviews across 203 stations with Co-op’s director of Funeralcare and celebrity Carol McGiffen led to 395 pieces of coverage, reaching more than 58 million consumers. A series of case studies, involving respondents willing to share their stories, brought the report to life.
Since the survey’s publication, Co-op Funeralcare has launched a range of ‘solutions’, such as bereavement groups and affordable funeral initiatives, including a no-frills direct cremation service with no mourners.