Brand strategy? Share life!

With well over 3.8 million persons insured, Atlanta is by far the largest funeral services insurer of the Netherlands. However, awareness of the brand is minimal. Even among Atlanta’s own customers, the name sometimes fails to ring a bell. High time for a change. Following a successful pitch, Ardanta set us to work.


We developed a campaign with one primary objective: add meaning to the Ardanta brand. Give it a positive charge. Gain and confirm consumer confidence. Key claim: Ardanta makes it easier to discuss matters surrounding death, thus enabling people to make better informed choices.

Do we like talking about death?

Why does Ardanta want to encourage people to talk about death? This has everything to do with the nature of funeral services insurance. Because here’s where people may run into difficulties, causing unnecessary hardship at already painful moments. E.g. insurance policies which do not pay out enough to cover all expenses. Or uncertainty about the policy holder’s last wishes: burial or cremation? Not to mention the choice of coffin: varnished oak or environment friendlier pressed cardboard? And what about speeches: who will be saying what at the funeral?

So: talking more freely about death. But how do you encourage people to do that, when this is hardly anybody’s favourite conversational topic? Well, that’s precisely the challenge Van Santen Network was faced with.

Or do we prefer to talk about life?

For Ardanta we came up with a surprising approach to get people to discuss death: life. Let’s explain the thinking behind it.

It’s not easy to talk freely about death. It’s so much easier to talk about life. The things people find beautiful or interesting. Their everyday likes and dislikes. Ask them a few simple questions and they’ll open up.

‘Life questions’, we call these. Question put to you and your loved ones. Big questions, small questions; personal questions; questions nobody dares to ask; obvious questions or crazy questions. This is the way to get to know each other even better. Because regardless how well you know each other, there’s always more to be discovered.

By sharing life’s experiences we leave nothing untouched. It’s how we can get to know each other even better. By sharing life we may find peace of mind when a loved one is no longer around. And it provides us with valuable pointers on how to say farewell on the day of the funeral. That is a good thing, both for the present and for later.

Ardanta’s 100 life questions can be found here. Before you start you can choose with whom you want to have a heart to heart talk. Our life questions may also be shared through WhatsApp, Messenger and e-Mail.


Effective ways to get people talking

Our message has been primarily communicated to existing customers by EDM and DM, as well as through Ardanta’s own Facebook page, which triggered plenty of response. This is a long-term campaign, which is constantly evolving. Events are still being planned and on line videos developed.

Special questions for special moments

During the festive season and at other special dates we added life questions relevant to the occasion, which also triggered an enthusiastic response. In the run up to Mother’s Day e.g. we surprised our target audience with 10 special Mother’s Day questions. These brought in hundreds of heartwarming replies – as well as over 12,000 unique visitors in less than one week.


People took (and still take) to answering the life questions in their thousands. The outcome is surprising: no matter how well people know each other, there’s always more to find out, more things they weren’t aware of before. Talking about death has become acceptable by ‘sharing life’.

Share life.


Contributors to this case:
Martin Cornelissen
Roland van Beveren
Jan Paul Tjen