Flowery funeral ad is blooming brilliant

Funerals provide a chance for people to say goodbye to a loved one, and getting the tone right is crucial. In Japan, as in many countries, the ceremony is traditionally symbolised visually by black, with bright colours deemed highly inappropriate for such solemn proceedings.

However, after the 2011 Tōhoku earthquake and tsunami in Japan claimed the lives of thousands, funeral home Nishinihon Tenrei (opens in new tab) wanted to push tradition to one side, and asked Tokyo-based ad agency I&S BBDO (opens in new tab) to create a vibrant campaign to advertise its services.

Wanting to portray funerals as not only a chance to grieve but as a celebration of life, the agency responded with this skeleton illustration made entirely from beautiful and brightly coloured pressed flowers. A daring move, the vibrant design proved extremely successful, going on to win a design merit award from the 2013 One Club Awards (opens in new tab).

Working on the campaign were creative director Mari Nishimura, copywriter Mari Nishimura, art director Naomi Hou and designer Naomi Hou. It is hard not to be inspired by not only the bold imagery but the courageous, left-field thinking that has gone into this.

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