Brandchannel: Can you give us a history and background of the brand? How did it start? How large is your business today?
Maurizio Matteucci: “The brand has born back on 1965. Since then we always tried our best in making a high quality coffins. We always wanted to have a handycraft production of coffins, without taking much care about having a large production. Our main target has always been the quality. When the factory started just a few funeral houses believed in us, but today, because our high quality coffin production, we reached a place of great prestige. We are always chosed by funeral directors who searching for the quality. Anyway because our hand made production we produce only a few hundreds of coffins per month.”
Brandchannel Translates: Since 1965 Cofanifunebri has been producing coffins with a focus on production quality, not quantity. It was this attention to quality which garnered the brand its first bits of attention, and respect, from B2B clients in funeral homes.
Brandchannel: Why sexy calendars?
Maurizio Matteucci: “Back in 2001, the Italian production of coffins went down because the arrival in Italy of a huge number of coffins coming from East Europe. Those coffins were not well done at all, but they were very cheap. We had a kind of crisis because this.
So we decided to show to or potential customers (funeral directors etc.) our handmade production, but we wanted to show it in a different way. We thought that couldn't be a bad idea trying to show our production in a funny way. The idea was to make a provocation, trying to advertise our caskets in the same way is everything advertised nowaday: 'the product and a beautiful woman near by it.' In other words advertise a casket as like a car or a mobile phone is advertised.”
Brandchannel Translates: Just like about every other established brand on the planet, Cofanifunebri found itself facing tougher competition from inferior quality, yet attractively cheaper, imports from more developing nations. Cofanifunebri was differentiated by its quality and reputation but that wouldn’t matter if buyers, such as funeral directors, didn’t take the time to consider the brand. Deciding that humor was probably unfitting, we decided to go with sex appeal.
The truth is, sex is used to sell almost everything else these days (tires anyone?), so why not coffins? Anyway, the target is funeral parlor directors and not necessarily DTC. And we’re just trying to get the attention of those in the business so we can get a foot in the door. Again, are power tools any different? Chainsaws? (Warning: PDF images maybe not be safe for work, hands.)
Moreover, one could easily argue that the act of death, like the act of copulation or the desire to do so, is in fact an experience directly tied to life. Can this be said of, say, 64-MB thumb drives? The calendar also brings attention to the brand via journalists worldwide who relish an opportunity to flex their atrophying wit, often in the form of puns, on an easy target. (e.g., “Dead sexy - Models and coffins!” and "Schedule your rest! Think outside the box! This is a Christmas gift that will keep on giving -- throughout eternity.")
Brandchannel: Have you experienced any business success directly connected to the promotional calendars?
Maurizio Matteucci: “Yes. Because this we were able to show our production. We had a lot of requests from all over the world (although unfortunately we are not ready yet to start any international trade). Probably the sexy calendars, the merchandise did not make us the greatest coffin factory in the world, but I'm sure they made of us the most controversial and famous coffin factory.”
Brandchannel Translates: You bet we have. Do you realize that this is an industry that has a practically guaranteed customer base of billions and yet nobody can name a single brand? Is there another industry in which that can be said? Sure, we’re not going to win points with the direct beneficiaries of our quality product but then those people aren’t really who we’re targeting anyway. The market we are targeting is made up of people who think about and deal with the subject of death for a living, and thusly treat is as the business it is. And those people, our targets, are very much brand sensitive and this is just another element in a marketing mix that, hopefully, will help our business make a killing.