Financial professionals have been left reeling after Leicester based life insurance firm ‘DeadHappy’ used an image of serial killer GP Harold Shipman to promote their service.
The company used the killer’s image as part of an advert, alongside the tagline ‘Life Insurance. Because you never know who your doctor might be.”
The Leicester firm, which is based in Mansfield Street, said it wanted to “make people stop and think.”
However, other industry leaders have branded the marketing move “beyond despicable,” and it is something which has prompted over 50 complaints to the Advertising Standard Authority (ASA).
Shipman dubbed ‘Dr Death’ is believed to have killed hundreds of elderly and vulnerable patients in the north of England over two decades.
He is considered to be one of the most prolific serial killers in modern history.
Among those slamming the “shocking” ad on social media, was Kathryn Knowles, Founder of Cura Financial Services. She avoided naming the firm, as she didn’t want to give them the satisfaction of promotion.
“There is a firm that is promoting life insurance using the picture of a mass murderer to promote their services,” she said.
“I will name neither as I won’t give them the satisfaction of popping up in my search results. Please know that many of us in insurance find this beyond despicable.
She added: “I would hope the FCA and ASA would would take action on this. I would like to lodge a formal complaint to both over this advert and will provide a copy to them.”
Many people replied to the tweet staring the same view.
“It’s absolutely appalling, with no consideration for the loved ones of those who were murdered,” wrote one.
Others called it “shocking” and “disgraceful” and “so disrespectful to the victims’ families.”
Harold Shipman is regarded as one of the most prolific serial killers in modern history, with an estimated 250 victims.
On 31 January 2000, he was found guilty of murdering 15 patients under his care. He was sentenced to life imprisonment with a whole life order. Shipman died by suicide, hanging himself in his cell at HM Prison Wakefield, West Yorkshire, on 13 January 2004, aged 57.
Defending the Shipman advert, which has since been removed, DeadHappy’s founder Andy Knott, said: ”We are called DeadHappy and our strap line is ‘Life insurance to die for’ so we are aware of the provocative and to some the very shocking nature of our brand.
“But being provocative is different to being offensive and it is of course never our intention to offend or upset people. It is our intention to make people stop and think.
“If however you have been personally distressed by this advert we do sincerely apologise.”