Charles Cowling

A consumers’ co-operative whose aim is to enable ordinary working people to buy things they would not otherwise be able to afford; one which  exists to provide a service for its members rather than generate profits for shareholders. A good thing, yes? It gets better. This consumers’ co-op also has an altruistic, ethical agenda for social change.

You’d think any such enterprise would be incredibly proud of itself. Dammit, it ought to be a national treasure.

So where did it all go so wrong for Co-operative Funeralcare?

And here’s the big question: What’s the point of it?

Let’s not get started, we’ll still be at it come Christmas. Let’s just look at Funeralcare’s new marketing trick for luring funeral consumers into its lair.

Mylocalfuneraldirector.co.uk

It looks like quite a helpful website for anyone planning a funeral and looking for a funeral director. It looks and reads like an (indifferent) independent consumer cheap online pharmacy without prescription resource.

Until you type your town into the Find Your local Funeral Director box.

Only a deeply damaged brand behaves like this.

Domain name:
         mylocalfuneraldirector.co.uk

     Registrant:
         The Co-operative Group

     Registrant type:
         UK Industrial/Provident Registered Company, (Company number: IP0525R)

     Registrant's address:
         9th Floor
         New Century House
         Corporation Street
         Manchester
         Greater Manchester
         M60 4ES
         United Kingdom

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Stephen CampbellTimThe Funeral LadyPaul AsherNick Recent comment authors

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Stephen Campbell
Guest
Stephen Campbell

I work for an Independent and the problem we face when it comes to Fairways is that they actually operate as an Independent business from the Co-Op. They have different coffins, different cars and different prices. They and you won’t like this even have a different policy on how people pay. So if they are operating as a private firm; come on lets face it I know for a fact that they wipe the floor with some Independents i really don’t see what the fuss is about them saying they are a local funeral director. I laugh and joke with… Read more »

Tim
Guest
Tim

Independent ladies and gentlemen, perhaps it’s time for an I.F.D.A, Independent Funeral Directors Association?? Together we stand, divided we fall?

Tim

Tim
Guest
Tim

Very interesting blog and great idea Kingfisher and Nick. I will add my support and help if required. As a funeral professional of 26 years standing having worked for my father and uncle, then after being bought out by a multiple and then working for them and then another and then another and now very recently starting up and running my own family firm, I fully understand the argument about clarity of ownership and pricing and as a new business trying hard to make my way in an honest and transparent manner, it is challenging to say the least when… Read more »

The Funeral Lady
Guest

Hi, very interesting thread.
I’d be happy to assist with the Directory idea for my area and beyond, if you wish.
I already plot FD’s, Churches, Crem’s and Cem’s on the old GPS device.
Contact me if you want/need a hand.

Linda

Paul Asher
Guest

After working for many years for both independent and corporate companies, I learnt that the big boys buy smaller family concerns so that they can increase prices and gain funeral numbers. Yes, your loved one is just a number. If the public keep supporting these companies as opposed to family businesses, then the family businesses will be no more and guess what? The prices will be raised higher still as you will not have a choice.

Nick
Guest
Nick

Hi Kingfisher. I’m game. Any help on content etc would be appreciated as well as any help with compiling a database. Thinking of a searchable google map with premises photos and branch info might be a good start. Bit more interactive than a list.

I’ve been doing one on my website with local churches, cemeteries etc.

http://maps.google.co.uk/maps/ms?hl=en&ie=UTF8&msa=0&msid=107485679278136441591.0004790bf2ec5d5d946be&ll=52.294832,0.742607&spn=0.125146,0.363579&z=12

I’m happy to build and host the site(s) and any info would be greatly appreciated

Regards,

Nick

Kingfisher
Guest

Nick, here’s an idea off the top of my head. Follow it up, ignore it, change or work on it, I shan’t be offended by any of them! It seems that there’s a fair bit of animosity and dislike of the website that is being discussed here, so, how about we, ourselves, research and compile a database? By this, I mean every reader and follower of this blog, each contributing what he or she knows. I’d be surprised if between us we weren’t pretty well-informed of the true identities of a huge number of companies. An immense task, and one… Read more »

Nick
Guest
Nick

It wont be a quick thing as I want to get it right but it will be honest that’s for certain!

If anyone has any ideas on compiling the database easily please let me know. Could link to SAIF database but not all independents are members.

Ill work something out.

The “singing” FD
The “singing” FD

Nick
Guest
Nick

Yep, they have held every single variant of that address. What they didn’t do was hold

mylocalfuneralservice.co.uk
and
yourlocalfuneralservice.co.uk

Ill give you a guess who has just bought them…..ill get a list of independent funeral directors on there as soon as I work out how to do it. Ill post back on here when I have a template up and running.:-)

Melissa
Guest

Nobody comes up for Monmouth. Excellent! The ones that come up for Cardiff are the “You know its just a field” people. Having said that I can think of one or two individuals from the co-op that we deal with on a regular basis who are good. John Hush in Berwick (trading under Co-op funeral care) and Philip Goode in Abergavenny (Co-op trading as Philip Goode). I would love the co-op to embrace natural burial and live up to their promise of consumer choice and ethical sustainability (http://www.co-operative.coop/corporate/aboutus/our-ethics/) but then how would they shift the marble. There’s a link to… Read more »

Liam
Guest
Liam

How long before we see a “Go Compare!” style TV advert for `mylocalfuneraldirector`?

Perhaps not eh? Shame though, as it really could make an otherwise sad and sensitive subject matter appear very funny. Still, the boundaries of what many would have previously felt was innapropriate advertising are, it would seem, constantly being pushed. So watch this space!

The competition for the best jingle has now opened. Go on, give it a go, I dare you!

Liam
Guest
Liam

Why would a caring, trustworthy and nationaly known funeral service provider with a national network and identity, word a website in a way that is clearly designed to pretend otherwise? Why would such a funeral service provider push the boundaries of misleading advertising as far as is legaly possible? Why feel the need to suggest that anyone not listed on their search engine is not there due to them lacking the same high standards of service? Why when contacted as a perspective client by phone and asked to reveal their true identity would they still endeavour to fob you off… Read more »

Claire Callender
Guest

Dear Charles, I expect you have covered this somewhere before. But how do the Co Op get to trade under family names?
It seems so dishonest.

gloriamundi
Guest
gloriamundi

So if I type in my post-code, I get only my local co-op FS undertakers, even if I go via the “all” link. So if I was naive, I might perhaps think these people really are the only ones around. And my local co-op FDs are not billed, on the website as Co-op. If I go to “about us” I find nothing about who “we” are or where we are based. Actually, nothing substantial about “us” at all. I may find some useful information on this website, but I can’t phone anyone from it, I can only email. I am… Read more »

Jonathan
Guest
Jonathan

You’re welcome, Charles, and I’m surprised this little blog has such amazing power as to dampen the flames of Satan and Son’s family firm of undertakers – well done!

Jonathan
Guest
Jonathan

Postscript to above:

Something Charles would have to delete to keep the lawyers off his back.

Jonathan
Guest
Jonathan

Any unwary recently-bereaved family could easily be misled into thinking this site is an independent, disintersted funeral advisory service. It’s not till you look closely that you even read the words ‘co-operative funeral’, and then only with your strongest reading glasses. It even puts a sly subliminal message in the ‘type your home town’ box: “View ALL funeral directors”. I’m a funeral director, and it doesn’t mention me. “Surely if this were a firm of undertakers it would have its name at the top of the home page, wouldn’t it, Ethel?” “Of course it would, George, stop fussing – Mum… Read more »