Months ago I wrote an article called “The New Millennium Marketing Mega Trends”. It described how the retirement of the “Baby Boomers” (people born in the US from 1946-1964) will change our landscape and will create new opportunities for marketers. Little did I know that this trend would impact the available space at cemeteries (and literally change the landscape).

A few days ago the mayor of a village in southwest France threatened residents with severe punishment if they die, because there is no room left in the overcrowded cemetery to bury them. In an ordinance posted in the council offices, Mayor Gerard Lalanne told the 260 residents of the village of Sarpourenx that “all persons not having a plot in the cemetery and wishing to be buried in Sarpourenx are forbidden from dying.”

The mayor added, “Offenders will be severely punished.” The mayor said he was forced to take drastic action after an administrative court in the nearby town of Pau ruled in January that the acquisition of adjoining private land to extend the cemetery would not be justified.

Lalanne, who celebrated his 70th birthday on Wednesday and is standing for election to a seventh term in this month’s local elections, said he was sorry that there had not been a positive outcome to the dilemma. “It may be a laughing matter for some, but not for me,” he said.

With nearly 80 million “Baby Boomers” now venturing into retirement, the mind reels at the changes that our society will have to make. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics projects 330 people are turning 60 years old each hour—-there’s clearly a change on the horizon with marketing implications all around.

Although cemetery shortages may not be the most appealing of opportunities, it is clear evidence of the impact of this new millennium marketing mega trend.

Land speculation anyone?

John Bradley Jackson
© Copyright 2006 All rights reserved.

P.S. Background information is courtesy of Reuters France.

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