Oddly Morbid Letter Offers Free Pre-Paid Cremation

I got an oddly morbid piece of direct mail this week.

Free Pre-Paid CremationIt was addressed to my father, but it somehow arrived at my house.

On the outside of the envelope I saw a New-Age style drawing that reminded me of something I’d see in a commercial for a sleep drug.

And then I saw the teaser copy:

     Free Pre-Paid Cremation
     Details Inside

My gut-level response was shock and incredulity. Did they mean to say “vacation” but accidentally wrote “cremation” instead??

Alas, no (unintentional) mistakes were made.

Inside the envelope I found a small two-sided letter accompanied by a reply card and return envelope. Here is what the letter says:

Dear Dave,

For a variety of reasons, more and more people are choosing to plan for a memorialized cremation over traditional funeral arrangement — and the numbers are increasing every year!

Cremation just makes sense because:

  • It allows families to conduct simple personal services at their own convenience
  • It is much less expensive
  • It has less impact on the environment
  • It allows families to plan for a dignified resting place to memorialize their loved ones and provide closure

Simple, Economical and Dignified…
It just makes sense!

With everyone moving around these days, placing a loved one in a “local” cemetery may not be as functional as it used to be. Folks are finding that a meaningful service can be held without the need for a fancy and expensive funeral home!

There are several advantages to making your arrangements now. First, you lock in today’s price. Second, you protect your family from falling victim to pressure to overspend (also known as “up-selling”) at a time when they are emotionally vulnerable. Instead, when the time comes, your family is simply left to concentrate on what’s important — helping each other get through their grief. Finally, Neptune arrangements may also qualify as an exempt asset when filing for Medicaid assistance!

Like we said: “Cremation just makes sense”. If you are not interested in spending your family’s inheritance on embalming, caskets, vaults, markers, fancy funeral homes or cemetery property, then we have the answer!

To learn more about Neptune Society and our different memorialization options, simply complete and return the enclosed reply card or visit neptunesociety.com/learn and enter the special code we have reserved for you: CODE#. Please note that you are under NO obligation — this is only to receive cremation and memorialization information.


Tim Nicholson
Neptune Society
America’s Cremation Specialists

P.S. Sometimes deaths happen before you have had a chance to put plans in place. Neptune stands ready to assist at a moments notice should you need immediate help.

Maybe it’s because I’m not 60 yet, but it’s such a morbid subject… choosing what should be done with your body after you die.

And it seems to me the tone of the letter somehow misses the mark. It’s just a little too upbeat. (Too many exclamation points!)

Plus, they keep telling me that cremation “just makes sense” (they say it three times) — but my brain is not getting the message.

(It’s almost like they couldn’t come up with anything better to say, so just kept repeating the same thing: “It just makes sense! Don’t you get it?”)

The reply card says in block letters: WIN A PRE-PAID CREMATION

Underneath this headline, it says, “Return this completed card today to be entered. Please include your phone number so we can call if your name is drawn. Last Month’s Winner: Mary L. Wyscarver”

Here’s what I want to know: How many people really want to win a pre-paid cremation?

If you win, does the Grim Reaper show up at your door to take you to a preheated oven?

It all seems like a poor mixing of metaphors.

Because when your number is up, you’re dead.

So… do you really want to be selected?

And is Mary still alive — or has she been cremated already?

Maybe I’m being too critical.

But it seems to me that perhaps there are better approaches to use when selling the idea of cremation as an alternative to burial.

Remember: The first rule of writing any sales piece is to know thy market.

That’s why, when you become a member of Copywriting Code, you’ll discover how to get into the minds of your prospects — so your message is relevant, on-target, and written in the right tone.

Sign up here before your number’s up:


-Ryan M. Healy

Ryan M. Healy

Ryan Healy is a financial copywriter and the author of Speed Writing for Nonfiction Writers. Since 2002, he has worked with scores of clients, including Agora Financial, Lombardi Publishing, and Contrarian Profits. He writes a popular blog about copywriting, advertising, and business growth, has been featured in publications like Feed Front magazine, and has been published on sites like WordStream.com, SmallBizClub.com, and MarketingForSuccess.com.