Death in Italy: Taffo, Italy's hilarious funeral service

There is only a certainty in life: death. You might as well face it with a smile and a little irony.

The reality of death is a taboo that is rarely treated light-heartedly in western societies, resulting in the increase of a fearful community towards the concept of passing away.

In a world in which there is psychological distress caused by the covid-19 pandemic, the fear of death has increased in the last year.Fortunately, there is one funeral home in Italy that treats the concept of death in a completely revolutionized manner. 

Taffo Funeral Services

Taffo Funeral Services is a historic Italian funeral home mainly based in Rome and owned by Alessandro Taffo with more than 70 years of experience. It is important to distinguish this funeral home to Taffo G & C Onoranze Funebri owned by Giacomo Taffo and based in L’Aquila, which is the result of a division into two separate agencies in 2015.

In 2011, Taffo Funeral Services started collaborating with advertising agencies called Peyote

ADV and KiRweb on social media, developing a unique and ironic approach to death. The funeral home became very popular in the digital world in 2016, after opting for a “viral and real-time marketing” strategy consisting of normalizing death through smart play-on-words and relating it to social issues in nowadays’ society. 

The ads are mainly pictures posted on Facebook with an ironic line regarding death, a visual design relating to it and the agency’s name at the bottom.

For instance, one of their advertisements shows a coffin in a huge hole in the middle of the street, with a caption that reads: “The only hole you will not complain about.”

In this ad, Taffo successfully makes a comedic and ironic commentary on the cracked streets of Rome while also promoting their business. Through the ads on social media, the company also raises awareness on topics such as domestic abuse, successfully reaching a large target audience due to the instant marketing strategy. There is an ad that shows a caption that reads: “There are two types of women”, and the choices involve a coffin or a writing that reads: “Those that report (to the police)”. This minimalistic and dark strategy when talking about death and domestic abuse led Taffo to become the first of its kind to communicate through dark comedy and relevance to current social concerns.The ongoing pandemic that started in 2020 allowed Taffo G & C Onoranze Funebri to experiment the competitor’s similar strategy and create ads relating to the social issues brought by coronavirus. The advent of vaccines led the company based in L’Aquila to post an ad that reads: “We buried many diseases: smallpox, poliomyelitis and meningococcus. Get Vaccinated. We are not ready to handle an epidemic.” Taffo Funeral

Services replied shortly after with another ad displaying the writing: “Don’t Get Vaccinated. We are also ready for an epidemic.” The two opposite ads underline a difference between the agencies, but still manage to hypnotize social media with their play-on-words and dark humour. This communication strategy is slowly changing the perception of death among Italians, who often remember the agency for its original creativity and continuous presence on social media.The marketing strategy adopted by Taffo Funeral Services led to a successful development. In fact, in a couple of years they were able to double their job positions thanks to the extensive support on social media, as well as the low-cost but smart approach in the design of the ads. This family funeral home contributed to the progression of funeral services’ advertisements, which are slowly becoming the norm, giving the audience the stressful reminder of their death, as well as an opportunity to smile.