Funerals are somber and dignified affairs, or so most people think. But wait until you hit the ads for funeral services and equipment on Gumtree and OLX. They are simply unbelievable.

It’s clear that many advertisers have not given enough thought to the wording of their ads. Funerals get lumped together in some ads with weddings and kids’ parties. Just looking at some of them made me hope that these companies are scrupulous with their admin. You wouldn’t want a jumping castle at a funeral or be shown a tombstone if you asked to see kitchen counters.

And then there are the ads catering for the funeral equipment impulsive shopper: a special on funeral equipment for the month of April only. So if you’re shopping for yourself, best you hurry up before month end... Grim and grisly.

And then there’s just the downright bizarre: who on earth would want a Mickey Mouse tombstone? Even for a child? The mind boggles.
The ads below are all real, if you can believe it.

1. The Mickey Mouse tombstone
 
Let’s start with Mickey Mouse engraved on a tombstone. I can understand someone not being particularly religious, or very pious, but a Disney character? Even for a child? I don’t get it. This ad is for a sales and marketing partner for this business. If you think you can sell tombstones with Mickey Mouse engraved on it, you have just found yourself a job. Good luck to you.


See ad here.

2. Will your funeral be a laugh a minute?
 
This master of ceremonies and comedian promises to lighten up any event – from weddings, to reunions, to funerals. I am sure he is very good, as his credentials show (he has after all performed in front of President Jacob Zuma), but I am not sure a stand-up comedian is the best person to get as the MC for a funeral. The last time I looked funerals were not about standing up. I could carry on, but I might be accused of having questionable taste.


See ad here.

3. Permanent funeral undertaker

I know it’s a job that someone needs to do, but there is something creepy about this ad. Such as the bit about being a team player. I know it’s just an expression, but how much playing gets done in a funeral parlour? And will they be levelling the playing fields next? Or starting from grass roots? It’s time to stop thinking in that direction. There’s also something rather ominous about the phrase ‘could become permanent’ in this context. And the own transport? What will it be used for?


Image: Shutterstock.  See ad here.

4. A jumping castle for a funeral

 
I know this is probably for keeping drinks cold and ice cream from melting, but the thought of a mobile cold room at a funeral sends shivers down my spine. But wait, that’s not all – the same company rents out a jumping castle. I hope their admin people are efficient, as I would hate the odd jumping castle turning up at Grandpa’s funeral. Mind you, let me think about this one for a while.



See ad here.

5. Two birds with one stone
 
This company makes tombstones – and kitchen counters. Right, they’re both made of granite, so this is understandable, but it is a bit of an unfortunate juxtaposition. Every time I use that counter top I am going to wonder why it was rejected as a tombstone – or was it?


See ad here.

6. White doves for hire

These are pretty  and symbolic of peace, and boy, do they get around. When they’re not hanging out at peace walks and weddings, they manage to fit in the odd funeral. But they are fortunately trained to fly home by themselves. But not too far away from home, or they might end up in Colesberg or somewhere miles away from home.


Image: Shutterstock  See ad here.

7. We’ll be the last to let you down

 Of course someone has to manufacture this equipment, but there’s something inappropriately jaunty about the ‘Buy 2, Get 1 free’ ad. Guys, this is not a shoe sale. And the trailers? Are those for transporting the coffin, or are they trailers for going camping? Just asking, so I can get my order right. I would look pretty silly hitting the highway pulling a coffin trailer behind me.


See ad here.

8. Cold room for sale
 
This ad is, I think, the creepiest of all of them. This cool room is the size of a small Wendy house, but how it’s advertised makes my flesh crawl: “This cold room can be used at home, veggie shop, butchery, mortuary / morgue, funeral parlor or wherever you need to keep it cool!”
Before I consider using this to store my veggies or my meat in, I have to ask what exactly it has been used for before. This seller is also prepared to swap this device for a bakkie, if you’re interested. (And he has clearly previously had problems with potential buyers not coming up with the ready cash.)


See ad here.

9. Going out with a bang

 Who says coffins have to be dull? This company provides you with the opportunity to go out with a splash of colour and in style. (Is that pink? Are those Rastafarian colours?) And what’s more, you can get these at a third of the price straight from the factory.  Whatever are we waiting for?


See ad here.

10. A one-stop shop
 
If it’s an event, she’ll plan it. From dances to kiddies’ parties to funerals. And what’s more, she promises that they will be stress-free. I am yet to experience a stress-free funeral, though. It must be quite confusing for her, especially if she has to organise two of these events in one day, such as a children’s birthday party and a funeral. I trust she can remember which is which. (And make sure you give Coco the Clown the right address.)


See ad here.

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