Life insurance advert of Britain's deadliest ever serial killer branded 'sick'
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A life insurance firm is facing backlash for using an image of Britain’s deadliest ever serial killer in an advert - a move that’s been branded ‘sick’.
Insurers DeadHappy released an advert for ‘life insurance to die for’, explaining that prospective customers could sign up in three minutes, with prices starting from £1 a month.
It was accompanied with an image of Harold Shipman, with a tagline that said: “Life insurance: Because you never know who your doctor might be”.
Shipman was a former GP who was found guilty of murdering 15 elderly patients using lethal doses of diamorphine in 2000 - although he is believed to have killed hundreds over the course of two decades before his 1998 arrest.
After being sentenced to life in prison, Shipman hanged himself.
Many people have slammed the company for the ‘grotesque’ and ‘shameful’ advert, with one tweeting: “How sick can you get. Appalling.”
Someone else wrote: “This is low by all standards.”
A third wrote: “Between Jeremy Clarkson using Rose West as a comparison of hatred as a joke and @deadhappy using Harold Shipman as an advertising ploy, I’d say it’s pretty clear how desensitised people are to victims of crime, ie the family that sees this disrespectful stuff.”
The stunt has drawn criticism from those within the sector, too, with Gareth Davies, director at South Coast Mortgage Services, telling the Daily Mail: “There's controversy and there's downright wrong, and this is the latter I'm afraid.
“However, I'm guessing they knew what the response would likely be, and it has us all talking about them as a firm.”
Scott Taylor-Barr, financial adviser at Carl Summers Financial Services, added: “This is really appalling and tasteless. Shipman's crimes are not that long ago, his victims' close families are still alive and could well see this advert, which would be horrendous for them.”
DeadHappy has already defended the advert, arguing that being ‘provocative’ doesn’t always intend to offend, having previously come under fire for similar reasons - including in 2019, when the Advertising Standards Authority suspended an advert it said trivialised suicide to promote life insurance.
DeadHappy founder Andy Knott said: “We are called DeadHappy and our strapline is ‘Life insurance to die for’ so we are aware of the provocative (and to some the very shocking) nature of our brand.
“But being provocative is different to being offensive and it is of course never our intention to offend or upset people. It is our intention to make people stop and think.
“We do take risks with our brand and sometimes we may step over the line, whatever or wherever that line may be, and whoever chooses to draw it.”
LADbible has reached out to DeadHappy and Advertising Standards Authority for comment.