Marketing mortality

I saw a billboard the other day that read, “Non-invasive brain surgery means dad can still give her away.”

In terms of being remarkable (the literal definition of the word, meaning worthy of notice), they nailed it. In terms of making the people who read the billboard feel good about what they’re doing, I’m left with mixed feelings (see: horror and bemusement).

Western culture fears mortality and suggests softer euphemisms to reference the dead and dying. People don’t die here, they “pass away” or perhaps “go on to be with the Lord” depending on your family’s world view and orientation to the Mason–Dixon line.

In many other cultures, both human and (non-human) animal death is cast in a completely different light. Death is not universally feared, it is in fact regularly celebrated and embraced. But that’s not the case here, and I can’t help but feel like the billboard missed the mark.

I could be wrong, but since I don’t have comments enabled on my posts… 🙂

Willie Jackson is a Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) Consultant & Facilitator with ReadySet, a boutique consulting firm based in the San Francisco Bay Area. He is a frequent writer and speaker on the topics of workplace equity, global diversity, and inclusive leadership. Connect on LinkedIn or get in touch.

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