Members of the public took to social media in order to complain about Queensway Funeralcare, in Billinham town centre, after two alternative hearses were parked up as an advertisement for those who want something extra at their funeral.
One of the vehicles was a motorbike side car and the other a horse-drawn carriage.
Many residents were not happy with this though, reports the Gazettelive.
One member of the “Billingham Banter” facebook group said: “I don’t agree, not something you want in your face when shopping with little kids.”
Another person said: “Put a poster up in the window! Just looks horrible and distasteful! Its not a wedding fair.”
Other comments included “bad advertising” and deemed the stunt “insensitive and wrong”.
Several users complained it added to their recent grief of losing a loved one.
However, many other facebook users defended the Co-op owned firm.
One person said: “It’s a company advertising its vehicles. No different to a car dealer with vehicles on the forecourt or a butcher or greengrocer with food outside the shop!”
And another member of the group added: “It’s ridiculous. No one whinges when you see them going down the road with actual bodies in!
“As sad as it is kids are one day going to realise everyone ends up in one of these. And you can’t say because you’ve lost a loved one that it’s offensive because it’s something that happens everyday unfortunately.”
A spokesperson for the company told the Gazettelive: “Death is the most certain thing in life, but our research shows that people can be reluctant to think about or plan for it.
“Many people don’t realise the extent to which a funeral can be personalised or become a celebration of life.
“Through our open days we find that things such as our alternative hearses can be a more light hearted way to prompt a conversation or thought about what can otherwise be a difficult subject to broach.”