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Funeral Home Billboards Gain National Attention

Zacherl Funeral Home knew their new marketing plan would get people talking. Recently, they started using some of their advertising budget as more of a public service announcement.

"It's very bold," said Jill Gillings when she first saw one of the billboards.

"People were taking pictures of the billboard and posting them saying, 'Wow. It's powerful,'" said Dawn Nelson, the Funeral Director of Zacherl Funeral Home. 

A handful of billboards went up around Fond du Lac. Some warn of heroin addiction. The billboard reads, "Side affect of heroin: Your vehicle changes," and shows a picture of a hearse. A prom safety billboard reads, "You don't want to be ordering these flowers for prom," and has a picture of a coffin topped with funeral flowers. Each sign says at the bottom, "we can wait."

The funeral home has been in Fond du Lac over 150 years, and in the family for generations. 

"That's when peter said lets do billboard about prom," said Nelson.

Zacherl Funeral Home President Peter Zacherl said he has seen too many parents bury their children, and that's the reason for the billboards.

"It's been driven by the fact that there's just so many of these deaths, and I never used to see that... last year we had five heroin deaths at our funeral home," said Zacherl.

"When you watch parents walk up to make arrangements and they can't get to the front door I don't know it's hard to explain what it does to you," said Zacherl

The funeral home president has noticed the signs are already making a difference.

"The day the billboards went up, our phone started to ring," said Zacherl.

Zacherl says people have shared it on social media, and people from Colorado to California have thanked him for the bold effort. He says a number of heroin and addiction recovery groups have also applauded the effort.

"If it saves a person's life, that's all it takes; it's well worth it," said Zacherl.

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