When Taylor Swift debuted the music video for her new single “Anti-Hero” on Friday, it featured an unlikely star: a fancy-looking Orion model casket from Titan Casket, a direct-to-consumer company based in Bellevue and Andover, Massachusetts.

About halfway through the video, a funeral takes place. Swift’s character hides in the $1,199 casket as her family fights around her. As the skit devolves into pure chaos, the beat picks back up and Swift emerges from the casket and reacts in horror at her family battling one another as the song concludes.

“It was unbelievable,” said Titan co-founder Elizabeth Siegel about seeing her company’s casket in the video. “We were so thrilled. It’s such an honor to be used in such a place of prominence in a very big video.”

Swift tweeted a photo of herself in a casket in a post about “Anti-Hero” Friday, while an Instagram post from fan page @taylorswiftstyled named Titan as the company and the casket model.

The Orion Series steel casket is Titan’s most popular model, according to the company’s website.

The order came in July from a production company that did not say which artist was going to use the casket. Siegel said it’s typical for production companies to search online for caskets.

Advertising

It wasn’t until an employee who happens to be a Taylor Swift fan recognized the product on Friday that the company realized it was about to have a pop culture moment.

Titan co-founder Josh Siegel, a former Amazon employee, recognizes the opportunity to start a different kind of conversation about death, which remains one of Western culture’s more uncomfortable subjects.

“Often funerals and death are a taboo space and people are not comfortable talking about them before they have a need, or after,” he said. “The wrong approach would be to put ads with caskets in them at subway stops and bus stations because people don’t want to see that. … Many people are ready for this conversation. You just have to approach it the right way, with the right mix of empathy and levity.”

Growth is happening quickly, he said, and Titan recently completed a round of funding in June that brought in an additional $3.5 million.

The surprise foray into mainstream consciousness capped an exciting week for the Siegels. The couple was in Washington, D.C., on Thursday to give testimony to the Federal Trade Commission on expanding the Funeral Rule, a law that aims to ensure consumers only have to buy the arrangements they want from a funeral home. 

Last week, the FTC voted 4-0 to start the process of modernizing the Funeral Rule to allow consumers to request prices online. Currently, funeral homes are not required to give customers an itemized price list unless they make the request in person; they’re also required to provide enough pricing information to answer customer questions by phone. Josh Siegel hopes the FTC will also require funeral homes to alert consumers to options such as buying caskets and other services outside of the funeral home.

“The attention from the Taylor Swift video is fantastic,” he said. “The reason we’re most excited about it is it brings awareness to the FTC Funeral Rule and the options available.”

This story has been updated to clarify what funeral homes are required to provide by phone, according to the Funeral Rule.