Dear Taylor Swift:
If you are reading this – and why wouldn’t you be? – please know that Scott Ginsberg in Andover would like to thank you.
This is because traffic to his website – titancasket.com, which sells caskets directly to consumers – has EXPLODED since your “Anti-Hero” music video debuted last month. That’s because for 23 seconds, you can literally see an actual Titan casket!
Well, the casket actually shows up in five quick scenes that together add up to 23 seconds. But still. And in one of the scenes, you’re even hiding inside the casket, peeking out! That part is a bit confusing – supposedly you’re dead and watching your imaginary children fighting over your will. But how can you be dead and watching this at the same time?
Still, it’s pretty funny that you only left them 13 cents. I guess that’s because 13 is your favorite number. (Your birthday’s on the 13th, your debut album went platinum in 13 weeks, etc., etc. I read this on your wiki, Swiftipedia.)
But you gave Titan Casket so much visibility! Especially when you used a picture of it on your Twitter feed! Like Ginsberg said, “How often do you get someone as recognizable as Taylor Swift, one of the top 10 recognizable individuals on the planet, to jump out of your casket?”
Anyway, I thought you might want to know something about Ginsberg and his Methuen casket company, so I asked him a few questions.
First off, no offense, but he told me that although he likes your music (especially “Anti-Hero!”), he’s actually “a Beatles guy.”
His kids really love you, though. His daughter is a junior in college, and when she found out about the video, she was “all giddy. Her dad is kind of cool now,” he said. Which is a relief because when she was younger, it was sort of hard to explain to her friends what her dad did for a living. “She would say, ‘My dad makes beds,’” Ginsberg told me.
Ginsberg is 58, and grew up in Marblehead. (That’s in Massachusetts.) His LinkedIn profile describes him as a “casket entrepreneur, a market disruptor, and a driving force in building and shaping the national direct-to-consumer casket market.”
What he’s trying to disrupt is the way the funeral business works in the U.S.
“This industry has not changed in over 100 years,” he said. “It is slow, it is lumbering, it is resistant to change.”
For example, let’s say somebody dies and you need to bury them. Ginsberg said most people automatically go to a funeral home to buy one because they think that’s the only way to do it. But this involves a middleman, and so the casket costs more. Prices vary a lot between funeral homes, and who wants to comparison shop when their loved one just died?
“You’ll shop a car, you’ll shop watches, you’ll shop vacations,” Ginsberg told me. “But for whatever reason, this one purchase people don’t shop. But why schlep to a bunch of funeral homes? I thought, there has to be a better way.”
He started Titan in 2016. He and his colleagues, Joshua Siegel – a former Amazon executive – and Elizabeth Siegel think of themselves as the Warby Parker of caskets. (Taylor, I read that you had laser eye surgery, so you might not know this, but Warby Parker is an online retailer of prescription glasses.)
Titan operates in a similar way. “I charge 50 percent or less for the same product,” he said. You can buy Titan caskets online, even at Costco and Sam’s Club!
Ginsberg said he does this work because it’s a mitzvah (good deed) to help others, and he believes in “tzedakah, in giving back.”
He never expected that someone from your production company would be hunting for a casket for “Anti-Hero,” and come across the Titan casket from the Orion Series in the copper color, and decide it would be a good fit for your music video.
“We had no idea who we were selling a casket to,” Ginsberg said. “I’d love to say thank you. Because of her, we are creating awareness for people.”
And now Titan also is creating awareness for you, Taylor. If someone wants to order a casket from the Orion series, and puts in a special Taylor Swift discount code – Swiftie – they’ll get a discount of $50.13. Get it? There’s your lucky number again!