HOLLYWOOD, CA: Forever Enterprises, a company that aims to alter
the way Americans deal with death, is preparing to search for a PR
agency to help it with a national rollout.
The firm already operates Hollywood Forever, a cemetery in Los Angeles
(where gangster Bugsy Segall, actor Edward G. Robinson, Jayne Mansfield,
and jazz great Woody Herman are buried), and Bellerive Forest in St.
Louis, both of which will be represented in the national rollout planned
for 2002. It also operates Beth Olam Forever and the Homicide Victims
Memorial in California.
Forever's communications director Joe Sehee said it was trying to change
the way Americans memorialize their families. The company webcasts
funerals and operates a website (www.forevernetwork.com) that allows
people to post biographies, messages, videos, and photographs of loved
ones. Potential clients can even record their own eulogies on videotape,
and have them webcast after they die.
The cemetery also holds concerts, such as one planned for October that
will feature jazz artists in a tribute to Woody Herman. A portion of the
proceeds will go to Jazz America and the International Association of
Sehee said the company is planning to make a number of acquisitions this
year, and will seek help with the national rollout next year. No budget
has been determined, but duties will include media relations and event
Forever's promotions have many in the funeral industry worried. "It
flies in the face of how business is normally done," says Sehee.
"Usually people come in their hour of need and are taken advantage of.
We're trying to take the creepiness out of the death-care industry,
which hasn't changed in 100 years," he added. "What we've done is
encourage pre-need buying. It allows us to have better relationships
with our clients."