Last week we saw Someone announce their new branding for funeral brokers Beyond… formerly FuneralBookers. It’s gathered a lot of attention online and in the studio, we’re not ones to be quiet so we thought, “To hell with it, we’ll throw our two pennies into the mix as well”. So, we’re going to give you a quick run through of the brand from start to finish, starting with FuneralBookers and finishing at the end consumer.
Ok, so the first thing we’ve got to look at is the name change and what does Beyond actually do. Well, Beyond are based in London, UK, and help customers find independent funeral directors (over 1,000 have listed their services), compare funeral plans, and get funeral financing through their online platform, all with the goal of making the process as easy and transparent as possible.
Name Change, Booyah
In terms of the name change, for us it’s a winner. The new name feels a lot more inclusive and definitely isn’t as indifferent to your dearly departed Grandma as FuneralBookers was. Visually, the old logo was inline with its namesake, fairly tragic, bland and cliched with the dove sitting next to what could be a logo for an insurance or hire car company. The new word mark has had a general thumbs up. It’s unusual and it bucks the trend of geometric sans serifs(that’s a good thing) so definitely an improvement on what they had. The domain beyond.life was a clever thought too and the way the ellipsis fall off the page on some of the applications are both really nice details.
Getting into the applications now and we’re really digging the yellow. Although death is a sad time under any circumstance, it should be looked as a celebration of someones life. What they’ve contributed to the world and the impact left on loved ones and people they’ve met. The yellow for us does this, it feels uplifting and bright and proves that death doesn’t have to be all doom and gloom. This goes hand in hand with the copy on the applications “after all it’s your funeral” and “I told you I was ill” and gives humour in a very British way. So far excellent, but, there’s an elephant in the room and he’s wearing a macintosh and got a beard. I’m looking at you hipster Dan.
We’ve looked into the mascot a little bit deeper and after some scouring found this quote from Simon Manchipp (Creative Director of Someone)
“We thought long and hard about the mascot.
It's could be easy to dismiss it as a trivial choice for a brand that's so embedded in such sensitive issues. But mascots are a proven method to help people digest messaging and stories that are otherwise unpalatable.
e.g: Pixar's Finding Nemo is essentially the story of a single parent reconnecting with his son after the death of his mother. But told through the medium of cartoon fish. The tough storyline (a death of a parent in the first scene). Addiction. (the sharks hooked on blood) and of course the fear of separation are all made brilliantly and softly compelling by adding a layer of primitivism.
People often turn to storytelling like this in times of crisis. So the deployment of a friendly mascot here made intellectual and commercial sense.
It’s working: Traffic to their site has pretty much doubled since the rebrand.
As for a wider group of more broadly representative mascots... Beyond has just got started... watch this space...”
The Mascot Moan
In fairness it’s a really good justification and explains the use of the mascot really well. If it’s working and driving traffic to the website, more power to them and congrats for a fantastic branding job and the character himself is drawn up in a really nice style too. That being said we still feel there is something really off about this guy. I mean if I saw him on his own he could be helping you find the best quote for your car. Ultimately, for us he’s a little too candid in his nature, perhaps not caring enough to guide you through the process, but that’s just us someone else could have a different interpretation. Perhaps that’s a little critical as at the minute he’s a solo mascot, but I’m thinking about an older person coming onto the site and using the service. How will they react to a bearded hipster showing them through the death of their sister? If like Simon has hinted at more mascots that might help in the future. We would like to see him set with a group of other characters that are perhaps a bit more relatable for a wider range of people too.
Love it or hate it I suppose only time will tell as to where this brand actually goes,One things for sure, this brand has definitely become a big talking point over the last week or so. For us minus the mascot or plus a few more we love it. Not just that but, we’re willing it to work. The funeral sector has become one of the deadest markets in terms of change and it’s about time somebody did something different. Potentially this branding could be an industry changer for the funeral sector. Who knows, if you’ve read this let us know what you think of the branding, we'd love to hear some external thoughts.
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