Life insurance company DeadHappy defends itself by using photo of serial killer Harold Shipman in ‘appalling’ ad
- DeadHappy used a photo of the murderer to try to sell life insurance
- But the company doubled down on its efforts and said it was just trying to be provocative
A life insurance company has been called ‘appalling and tasteless’ for using a photo of serial killer Harold Shipman in one of its advertisements.
Life insurance broker DeadHappy ran an ad this week with a photo of Shipman and the tagline “Life Insurance.” Because you never know who your doctor might be.
Shipman has been convicted of murdering 15 people, but the actual figure may be as high as 250, making him one of the worst serial killers of all time. The former doctor committed suicide in a prison cell in 2004.
Insurance professionals lined up to criticize the announcement.
The life insurance broker said it was only ‘provocative’ by featuring an image of Shipman
Gareth Davies, director of South Coast Mortgage Services, said: “There’s controversy and there’s outright wrong, and it’s the latter I’m afraid of.”
“However, I guess they knew what the likely response would be, and we’re all talking about them as a company.”
Scott Taylor-Barr, financial adviser at Carl Summers Financial Services, added: “It’s really appalling and tasteless.” Shipman’s crimes don’t date back that long, relatives of his victims are still alive and may well see this publicity, which would be appalling for them.
But DeadHappy doubled down on its use of Shipman’s image in advertising.
DeadHappy Founder Andy Knott said: “We call ourselves DeadHappy and our tagline is ‘Life Insurance to Die For’, so we are aware of the provocative (and for some very shocking) nature of our brand.
“But being provocative is different from being offensive and it is of course never our intention to offend or upset people. Our intention is to make people think.
“We take risks with our brand and sometimes we can cross the line, whatever or wherever that line is, and whoever chooses to draw it.”
What is DeadHappy?
DeadHappy is a fully online pay-as-you-go life insurance broker that was launched in February 2019.
The company markets itself as a disruptor to more traditional life insurance companies and uses controversial advertising and branding.
Only 35% of people in the UK have life insurance, according to Direct Line Life Insurance.
DeadHappy aims to increase that number by making the process of buying life insurance faster and easier.
Customers go to the DeadHappy website, decide how much payment they want on their death, answer a few questions, and then get a monthly quote to secure that payment.
The process is purely digital, which means you cannot speak to anyone in person or on the phone, and there is no guidance.