retail news in context, analysis with attitude

by Kevin Coupe

MNB is fond of pointing out that in the current competitive environment, retailers have to seek out unorthodox ways to reach out to customers, as opposed to just building stores and expecting that shoppers will find them.

Well, the Associated Press reports that there is an unusual company adopting this approach to generating new business.

Forest Lawn.

That's right. The cemetery business that may be the business of that ilk with the highest profile national brand identity, and that has in its Los Angeles plots the bodies of such celebrities as Walt Disney, Michael Jackson and Elizabeth Taylor, reportedly has been opening "movable kiosks in several of the malls that dot Southern California’s suburbs."

The goal is simple. Unless people need to, it is unlikely that they'll get up in the morning and go by themselves a burial plot. But, if they're at the mall, are doing other things and happen to see a Forest Lawn kiosk, maybe they'll inquire.

According to the story, "Forest Lawn’s effort began modestly, with just one kiosk (one of those movable things that usually sell stuff like calendars or ties) in a mall in the Los Angeles suburb of Eagle Rock. When no one was creeped out, the program expanded to about a half-dozen malls. Now Forest Lawn periodically shuffles them from one mall to another to reach the largest audience.

"Unlike the people at other such stations, who can seem like carnival barkers as they walk right up to you and hawk discount calling plans or free yogurt samples, Forest Lawn’s operators are more discreet. At the entrance to a Macy’s department in the LA suburb of Arcadia last year, operators were quick to smile and hand out brochures when approached. But they kept their distance until people came to them."

Not sure if they're looking for a slogan to use on their kiosks, but I do have a suggestion:

Forest Lawn: Everybody Is Dying To Go There.

It'd be an Eye-Opener.
KC's View: