Funeral Home Faces Backlash Over Valentine’s Day Card Stunt

A holiday-themed promotion went awry

Valentine's Day card
A Valentine's Day promotion in the U.K. just went very, very wrong.
Anna Blazhuk/Getty Images

What happens when a marketing stunt goes very, very wrong? We’re watching that play out right now in Surrey, just south of London. The broad strokes of the stunt are familiar — a company using a holiday, in this case Valentine’s Day, to promote their goods or services. It’s when you get into the specifics of this particular incident that things get much, much worse.

You see, as The Guardian reports, the business in question is a funeral home. The cards were sent to the residents of an elder care facility, Whitegates Care Centre. And the promotion has been met with an eminently understandable reaction: who, exactly, thought this was a good idea?

Well, we have some sense of that; as the article details, the cards were inscribed with the message “Sent with love from TH Sanders & Sons.”

For their part, Whitegates Care Centre has defended the practice, arguing that TH Sanders & Sons has done things like this before, and that over the years, they have “brought warmth, joy, and generosity to residents through various initiatives.”

As The Guardian notes, TH Sanders & Sons’ parent company issued an apology for the cards, staying that they “deeply regret any unintended distress” caused by their delivery.

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It isn’t hard to see why this promotion might come off as insensitive; for all of the “they’re a local business helping the community” rhetoric cited by Whitegates in the article, there’s also the fact that the delivery of the cards feels insensitive to a neutral observer. Valentine’s Day can be a challenge for people, young and old alike; there’s no reason to make it any more emotionally upsetting.

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