Thursday, November 7, 2013

The new craze of headstone advertising

by +Ian C

For those who have recently suffered a loss, you know the expense of burying a loved one, especially considering the cost of real estate these days. Why do you think so many people opt for cremation? A recent survey found that the actual cost (excluding the bar tab at the wake) to bury someone is close to $10,000.

It's not expensive to die, unless you want to be buried
That's what it's gonna take to get a headstone like this
A rough breakdown of the expenses follows. These are rounded averages across the US.
  • funeral director’s services: $1,500
  • cost for a casket: $2,300
  • embalming: $500
  • cost for using the funeral home for the actual funeral service: $500
  • cost of a grave site: $1,000
  • cost to dig the grave: $600
  • cost of a grave liner or outer burial container: $1,000
  • cost of a headstone: $1,500

A company based in Montana called is helping people offset some of these funeral costs by selling advertising space on the headstones of the freshly expired. According to their website, 'Monthly pricing varies from $5 - $50 per slot depending on the location of grave geographically as well as it's location within the cemetery. Advertising fees also change according to the popularity of the deceased and the expected foot traffic for that location.'

Reading further into the small print, 'The headstone owner/agent gets a minimum of 60% of the fees depending on the total monthly income for that stone.' and ' reserve the right to select the advertisers for each stone and our decision is final. We will ensure to the best of our ability that the advertisements are tasteful and subtle, and in harmony with the surroundings.'

Advertising by
Occupants names have been obscured for a variety of reasons
I found Headstone's own bumper sticker (lower right corner) morbidly amusing. The fact that it says 'RENT THIS SPACE...' makes me wonder if people will assume that the burial plot is up for rent and not the space on the headstone.

In case you are wondering, the symbol in the center at the top is a QR-code linking to an e-memorial of the deceased. There are a couple of companies who offer the service of a digital memorial to remember loved ones. Just point your smart phone camera at the pattern and you are instantly taken to a customized mobile website honoring the dearly departed.

We did the math, and assuming you fill 5 slots at the lowest rate of $5/ month, your stone would generate $25 monthly. Over 1 year that would be $300. But wait, you only see 60% of that so you would get $180. Considering that the funeral cost you $10,000 it should be paid for within 56 years.

Would you consider selling advertising space on your family's headstones? Have you seen any headstones with advertising or sponsorship? Please take the time to share with us in the comments section below.

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