Monday, July 16, 2007

Branded Caskets? They Are Already Here.

In a lively new twist on what you might call a dead industry, Eternal Image is bringing licensing to the afterlife—through branded caskets and cremation urns. Now lifelong supporters of select sports teams and other brands have the option to take their loyalty all the way to their final resting spot.

Eternal Image has licensing agreements with 30 Major League Baseball teams (urns and caskets will available late 2007), the Vatican Library, Precious Moments—and there are even special urns licensed by the American Kennel Club and Cat Fanciers Association to preserve the ashes of beloved pets. More than just a gimmick, Eternal Image products are made with high-quality rot-resistant composite materials and are designed to be tasteful representations of a person's interests. The company continues to seek new partners and expand its offerings to appeal to a broader audience.

While some may find it off-putting to take licensing to such an extreme, appealing to the varied interests of ageing baby boomers—many of whom are serious sports enthusiasts—could yield high returns. What's more, this is a fantastic example of applying new principles to an industry that hasn't changed much in many years, with the exception of eco-funerals and artistic urns. And while Eternal Image has a great start on collecting an impressive list of partners, there's still ample opportunity for rivalling entrepreneurs to compete for some big name licensing partnerships, including major sporting leagues worldwide.

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