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+--Forum: Death in the News
+---Topic: Death...In Advertising? started by Mayahuel

Posted by: Mayahuel on Mar. 24 2001,6:09 am

I've just started considering this trend again a few days ago.  Has anyone caught the commercial for Eclipse Gum, featuring the Grim Reaper as the "death" of bad breath?  Another example that sticks with me is some pesticide product which used Death as a symbol (dare I say mascot) for a while.

There are other examples that aren't coming to me now, but I'm finding this increasing trend of fitting Death into advertising to be rather interesting.  Any thoughts?


Posted by: Leilah on Mar. 24 2001,6:52 pm

There was also one for an automobile that you can download from the web. I'll have to see if we can find that one again. Seems like ol' Az is all the rage these days. You know you've made the "Big Time" when you're in advertising. :cool:
Posted by: Mike from Tallahasse on Mar. 25 2001,5:42 am

We also enjoyed the insurance co. TV ad where our Reaper was hanging out on a nervous guy's front porch until distracted by a sexy Reaper-ette. How fun...
Posted by: Sio on Mar. 25 2001,1:34 pm

There's one for one of the "Sim" computer games in which the Reaper can be used as a character... in the commercial (which uses real people as opposed to computer generated) Death gets up off the couch to answer the door for the pizza guy. He takes the pizza, and touches the delivery boy, who immediately drops dead.  Death gets his pizza for free. :)
Posted by: Azriel Knight on Mar. 25 2001,5:32 pm

Don't forget the Hotmail commercial were death is haveing a hard time keeping up, until he gets his free msn hotmail account :)

Posted by: Leilah on Mar. 25 2001,5:38 pm

Sure wish we could find all of these and put up a page of links for folks to view them. We found the car commercial one, but the link wasn't working at the time.
Posted by: dnekm ailep on Mar. 25 2001,9:52 pm

I've had the JEEP commercial on my hard drive for ages now ;) You can find it at

There's another one at the same site for Pacific Gas & Electric, but it's kinda sucky.

If anyone can find any of the others mentioned, or some older ones online, please let me know as I'd like to archive these for possible use on the site or something.


Posted by: Mike from Tallahasse on Mar. 26 2001,3:58 am

That "Death-and-the-pizza-guy" commercial sounds particularly funny..! The great advertising and graphic designer Milton Glaser ( who did that Bob Dylan poster, designed "I [heart symbol] NY" ) wrote of the "power of the cliche", of an easily recognized image or symbol in advertising. It's a testament to the continuing vitality* of Death visualized as the Grim Reaper that he continues to be a mainstay of tattoo artists and even shows up in a more mainstream venue like advertising. And while the Reaper is shown as rather spooky, and to be avoided, he is not depicted as truly evil (though the pizza guy might disagree!). Unlike, say, Hitler.

Maybe the Reaper image fulfills in some ways what Godzilla did for the Japanese, especially early on in G.'s career. Godzilla was a way of personalizing the more abstract threat of nuclear destruction and radioactivity. And, while remaining a destructive threat, he became to the Japanese a defender against even WORSE creatures. The Grim Reaper humanizes the feared, unknown nullity of death. Bikers and death-metal devotees, by identifying with his power and image, seek to take on some of his energy. Much like a sports fan would by wearing a T-shirt with the team logo..!

*Maybe not the best word to describe Death!

Posted by: Mike from Tallahasse on Mar. 26 2001,4:00 am

Oooo, I just saw this last post moved me up to "Reaper"!
Posted by: Azriel Knight on Mar. 26 2001,11:41 am

Heres another little tid bit of our friend in advertising :death2:

The > ummm, resoning why bikers have those kinds of tattoos is a little interesting bud are you sure you haven't been :drunk:
Just kidding :)

Posted by: Mike frm Tallahassee on May 06 2001,5:39 am

Not drinking, just intellectualizing, as usual. From the Nazi SS to bikers, metalheads, or self proclaimed badasses like WWF wrestler Stone Cold Steve Austin (who has skulls on his merchandising T-shirts and big skeletal hands raising the middle finger for fans to wear at his matches), those identifying with the power and (to the masses) fearfulness of Death seek to make themselves more frightening...

Another interesting TV commercial: A coffin is ready for a viewing, and the undertaker is disturbed that the occupant is wearing a satisfied smile. He tries to put a more solemn expression on the corpse, but the smile keeps coming back. A slogan comes up: "Life is short. Be happy". The ad's for, a job-finding service...  

Posted by: RevDellamorte on May 15 2001,4:57 am

This may be kind of silly. but I wanted to share it. I was at King Soopers (a very popular grocery store chain in Colorado) the other night. I saw a very large helium balloon (one of those fancy silver ones) with Azrael on it. In his right hand he was holding his scythe, and in his left hand he was holding a cupcake. It said "Relax, I only came for the cake". I wanted to buy it, but I realized that it was too big for my HP scanner (especially deflated)... so it was pointless to purchase it. It was quite amusing though... nice to know that even the huge chain grocery stores are selling His depiction.... :pimp:
Posted by: Mike frm Tallahassee on May 16 2001,4:05 am

...Sounds like the image and slogan on a birthday card I bought a while back (not to give away, just 'cause it was cool). When I get the chance, I'll look for it.
Posted by: Choirgirl on Feb. 10 2002,4:23 am

Does anyone remember that commercial for bug spray with the Reaper sitting in a kitchen, complaining about roaches then stepping on them? (It's not a new commercial.  Then again, I'm replying to not-a-new thread.  So a theme is developing.)

Posted by: Columbine on Feb. 10 2002,9:32 am

The Grim Reaper birthday balloon is part of the "Over the Hill" birthday party theme.  At a party-supply store, you can get black coffin-shaped gift boxes, Rest in Peace balloons, gravestone birthday candles...  I guess the next thing will be the Grim Reaper leaping out of someone's cake!  Can't get much more naked than bones...
Posted by: Leilah on Feb. 11 2002,6:46 pm

Hi Choirgirl! Yeah, they use to make some good Reaper ads, but alas, we're not even allowed to have any funny "death related" ads anymore due to the fact that they might "offend" someone's sensibilities after 9/11.

You'd think we were all wusses or something :doom:

I recall quite a few neat little ads and such. You can't even find them on the web anymore.

Posted by: Choirgirl on Feb. 11 2002,8:11 pm

[quote]Quote: from Leilah on 6:46 pm on Feb. 11, 2002
Hi Choirgirl! Yeah, they use to make some good Reaper ads, but alas, we're not even allowed to have any funny "death related" ads anymore due to the fact that they might "offend" someone's sensibilities after 9/11.

Well, personally I'm offended and horrified by minivan commercials,  the heralded "return to wholesome 1950's values", and anything having to do with Britney Spears, but I'm realistic enough to know that I'm going to run across them in the course of everday life.  I'm not going to demand they be removed from public view just because they make me squirm.
Okay, I had a point here.
Everything is likely to offend, piss off, alienate, or somehow disgust someone.  Reverting to saccharine feel-good pap in a time of crisis doesn't exactly help the coping mechanisms of the general public (though it probably helps the mainstream media sell product).  It helps their cuse to keep the general public wussy, I suppose.

Although, I actually did see the Reaper-skipping-through-the-fields car commercial the other night (granted, it was well after midnight...yes, I'm ashamed that I had the idiot box on, too).  Maybe it's making a comeback.  Keep all digits crossed.

Posted by: dnekm ailep on Feb. 14 2002,2:37 am

You can find the Reaper-skipping-through-the-fields ad at

It's in Quicktime format, but it's still a cool commercial.

I remember the roach spray commercial, but I haven't been able to find it on the net, yet. Ad critic also has an "Energy Star" commercial with a Reaper, but it's not that good :smoke:

Unfortunately, after checking that my link above actually worked, I see that they are offline.... Sorry :cathat:

(Edited by dnekm ailep at 2:38 am on Feb. 14, 2002)

Posted by: Azrael31 on April 13 2002,3:35 pm

As for the game the SIMS  Azrael as far as the game goes appears and you have to let these little "People" try to bargain with him to come back another day. You can however downloads some really beautiful skings for use as player characters.  I even downloaded a house that when the neighbors drop by and go into your yard they drop dead and a tombstone pops up in the graveyatd next to the house. Sorta Like Azrael's Burglar alarm :pyth:  

Eric the Fruitbat

Posted by: THE DARK ANGEL on July 04 2002,6:54 pm

Well not too sure where to place this baby...but whoa!!!!  Life/death and its twists and turns regarding burial.  Here's a site selling "cardboard" coffins...called "ECOPODS"....sounds like something you'd find @ Soylent Green huh.  It's a coffin shaped like a pod which will house a corpse (ooooh) with a height of about 5-10...not sure what happens if you're taller...oh well you didn't need those feet now did ya???  Here's the addy:

Always looking for new ways to package the dead.  ;)  When are they gonna realize...ashes to ashes dust to dust.  Seems it always ends up being done to gain the almighty dollar $$$$$$$$.  Just slip 'em in their dirt-bed and let them pull up the covers.  Simple no.  Leave the rest to the conquerer worm.  ;)


A mortician slipped me this one.  

It > says:  "DON'T BE RIPPED OFF BY THE GRIM REAPER"....oh come on.  And Azrael is standing there with His scythe in hand.

(Edited by THE DARK ANGEL at 8:15 pm on July 4, 2002)

Posted by: Maiken on July 09 2002,11:04 pm

Now I'm really intrigued! "Don't be ripped off by the Grim Reaper"...Doesn't He offer the same deal to everyone? Freedom from the flesh, transportation to the afterlife, etc? Supposing He has first and second class seating? What if you don't get your complimentary bag of peanuts? Where do you lodge your complaints?

These intense questions should be pondered at length...:lickout:...of course, I didn't say WHAT length...

Silly mundaners... :jump:

Posted by: THE DARK ANGEL on July 10 2002,6:35 pm

Ah yes..."Over The Hill" merchandise......we used to sell it @ the Hallmark I work in.  I picked up a few black roses......I also have a cake topper of Azrael standing behind a gravestone with His scythe in skeletal hand pointing to the sign on the stone saying, " I'm only here for the cake."  THAT piece I got @ ebay.  Over The Hill stuff is all done in black.  Funny line of stuff.


Posted by: Divals on July 17 2002,2:51 pm

Quote: from Maiken on 11:04 pm on July 9, 2002
These intense questions should be pondered at length...:lickout:...of course, I didn't say WHAT length...


1 1/2 feet at least. :)


Posted by: THE DARK ANGEL on July 19 2002,11:49 pm

NEWSFLASH !!!!!  I just read in my Funeral Directors magazine that Hallmark sells a line of "funeral stationery" .... I feel better to say I work for Hallmark now.  Kinda proud of those guys.  I told my boss and he was shocked.  Just thought that might be of interest to you.  I myself am THRILLED !!!!  I know I know I'm a french fry short of a Happy Meal.  ;)


Posted by: daoine o on July 22 2002,5:56 pm

Hey, Darky, can *anyone* buy the stationery?  Or just those 'in the industry'?   I remember in the 'old days' that white paper with a black border was used for funerary correspondence, is this along the same lines?

:asthanos:  <---  i'll send birthday cards written on it!

Posted by: russalka on Aug. 25 2004,8:32 am

I saw a birthday card the other day with a Reaper holding a cake loaded with lit candles. The message read: You cannot run, nor can you hide. Haw! :laugh: I also saw, in a photography magazine, a fashionably tricked-out woman lifting another out of a fashionably tricked-out coffin, apparently to kiss her....hmmm. I bet they used it for a perfume ad. And here's one guaranteed to date me--anyone remember the ad for the "Vampire Gimlet" from the '70s? It had a proto-Goth woman at a window, and the header ran, "Hurry Sundown." :hippy:
Posted by: Leilah on Aug. 25 2004,7:37 pm

russalka...I use to have an original copy of the magazine ad. It may still be around here somewhere  :headbang:
Posted by: Azrael's Friend on July 31 2007,4:07 pm

I love seeing and reading this about Death.
It keeps me entertained.
Posted by: Azrael's Friend on July 31 2007,4:10 pm

I can't get enough of death.
I love the obituaries they always seem to get my attention
Posted by: Azrael's Friend on Aug. 03 2007,5:43 am

The only reason I read the Obits is because I always seem to find some of the people who pissed me off when I was in Elementary School.
Then I just laugh about it.
Posted by: russalka on Aug. 06 2007,7:31 pm

I read the obits, too, Azrael's friend, and am dismayed at all of those smarmy "Celebrations of Life" that seem to be all the rage here in the PNW. ICK!  For thousands of years, people have had wakes with corpses present, and now all of a sudden people are too sensitive (wimpass) to endure the sight of a body!  Sure you remember the person's life but the whole fucking purpose of a funeral is to MOURN with friends, family, and interested strangers.  CRY! WAIL! Kiss the corpse! Anything but this smarmy crap! rip  :shake:  rip

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