Coffin calendars: Where sex meets death

Casket campaign borders bad taste Company says it's good for business

Toronto Star November 29, 2003 (pg J3) by ARIEL TEPLITSKY

Everybody knows sex sells. This has been a cornerstone of automobile advertising for hundreds of years. Same goes for movies, music, videogames, soap, carpets and frozen pizza.
But funerals?

An Italian casket-manufacturing company, CISA (, is applying that fundamental marketing maxim to push its products. Promotional calendars distributed by the company feature photos of carved wooden coffins spiced up by a bevy of attractive women posing suggestively in limited clothing. They stand in front of the coffin, or sit upon it. They lie prone on the ground, cleavage bared, or draped in an American flag. They are waiting, almost beckoning.
The 2003 calendar has biblical quotes — "trust the dreams, for in them is hidden the gate of eternity" — superimposed over glowing images of winged, scantily clad women, floating on pillows next to the casket. The 2004 calendar sheds the quotes and the angel wings, and goes straight for the babes-and-burial motif.
The concept takes Six Feet Under's risqué union of sex and death — the two primal forces that propel civilization — to the next level. But not everybody welcomes the concept.
" There are a lot of different reactions," explains CISA's Maurizio Matteucci in an e-mail. "Some said that we had a great idea, some said that we can't mix sex and death and some just loved the calendar because (it) is cool....
" We didn't want to hurt the feelings of (people) who had a loss."
The company intends to reach grieving customers "with a smile," Matteucci says. The calendar has received a lot of attention, he says, and yes, it's definitely been good for business.
Tip: Get ahead of the trend and make your next car a hearse. They're going to be hot in '04.

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