Client: The REaD Group
PR Team: Eulogy
Campaign: Launch of the Bereavement Register
Timescale: February 2000 - ongoing
Budget: pounds 30,000
The REaD Group, which specialises in 'suppression' technology, launched
the Bereavement Register after a year's research into the effects that
direct mail addressed to the deceased had on the bereaved families.
To encourage members of the public to register deceased family
To encourage companies to use the product to screen for deceased mail
recipients and remove them from their mailing lists.
Strategy and Plan
Eulogy developed a two-pronged strategy targeting national and, more
importantly, local media using a mix of business and consumer
REaD research had revealed that up to 8,000 direct mails addressed to
deceased people were going out every day, affecting around 2,000
families across the UK.
The monetary loss to the direct mail industry was a staggering pounds
30m a year, while their clients suffered the backlash of damaged
customer relations and brand reputation because of the emotional upset
these mails were causing.
The campaign needed to get across to businesses that they had a moral
responsibility to halt the problem.
Pick-up was ensured in local and regional media by translating these
findings into local and regional statistics and by appealing to local
newspapers' commitment to protecting the community. A number of local
case stories added weight to the story, giving real-life examples of
families that had been particularly upset by direct mails.
This created a domino effect when members of the public sent letters or
telephoned radio stations detailing their own experiences.
Measurement and Evaluation
Radio broadcasts covering national (You & Yours on Radio 4) and regional
BBC and commercial stations had a total reach of 12.1 million
Stories also ran in many of the national broadsheets including the
Independent on Sunday, The Sunday Times, The Times, the Financial Times,
and twice in The Daily Telegraph.
As the campaign rolled out during the course of the year, more than 40
regional hits were achieved, highlighting the message where register
pick-up was slow. Likewise, local authority and hospital care press, and
titles such as Funeral Director Monthly have continued to impact the
In the first four months of the campaign the initial registration target
of 500,000 was exceeded by 200,000. A year later, 1.4 million deceased
people have been registered.
Some 700 direct marketing companies are now using the bereavement
register as their main source of identifying the deceased. However,
there is some way to go to quash the problem completely.
According to REaD managing director Mark Roy, too much direct mail is
still being sent out. 'Usage of the register is up every day,' he
'But we're only 40 per cent of the way. The industry must use it
Because, until the remaining 60 per cent register, we still see a
backlash in terms of perception of the industry.'