If you watch the music video for Taylor Swift’s new song “Anti-Hero,” as more than 30 million viewers already have since its Friday release, you might spot an unexpected cameo from a local company during a pivotal scene.
It’s me, Titan Casket. Hi.
The Methuen-based company, which sells direct-to-consumer caskets, learned this week that one of its products was featured prominently in the video for the single, serving as a hiding place for the singer as a dream sequence plays out on screen.
The casket’s brief appearance is just the latest instance of the entertainment industry turning to the brand, which bills itself as “the Warby Parker of caskets,” when in dire need of a coffin on set for a production.
But it’s the biggest break for Titan so far, according to Joshua Siegel, the company’s cofounder and chief operating officer.
“We often sell to big productions, but just never, ever someone on the scale of Taylor Swift,” Siegel said. “Not only having the casket in her video, but hiding in it, hugging it, and taking pictures with it, and posting them on Instagram. So it’s very exciting for us.”
A Titan employee and self-proclaimed “Swiftie,” who was working the graveyard shift when the video was released, was the first to spot the Titan-branded casket as Swift emerged from it in the video.
It appears about two minutes into “Anti-Hero,” during a scene where a fictional version of Swift’s spoiled adult children — one of whom is played by Shrewsbury’s own Mike Birbiglia — feud at her funeral after finding out they’ve been left out of their pop star mother’s will. Swift watches the chaos unfold while peeking out from a light-brown coffin surrounded by floral arrangements.
The employee, noticing details like the casket’s copper metallic finish and “sunburst” pattern on its interior fabric, quickly realized that Swift had been filmed inside of a Titan Orion Series, which according to the company’s website is its “most popular model” and retails for $1,199.
This was not the first star turn for the six-year-old company. Its relatively low price point and selection of 1,000 models of all shapes, sizes, and styles have made it a frequent choice for film crews looking for an authentic set piece for scenes both somber and spooky.
Siegel said the company’s products have been used in the HBO miniseries “The Plot Against America” and Hulu’s “Castle Rock,” which is based on a fictional town from Stephen King’s works.
People can also catch a glimpse of a Titan coffin on the Apple TV+ series “Severance” or “P-Valley” on Starz. The producers of AMC’s “Anne Rice’s Interview with the Vampire” recently ordered a custom-branded coffin and sold it at a “Night Market” promoting the show.
So it was nothing out of the ordinary when, back in July, the company filled an order for a casket from a nondescript music video production company, which offered few hints about the product’s future use.
“It could have been for a college project for all we knew,” Siegel said.
As Swift fans stayed up past midnight last week to stream her latest album and watch her self-directed video, it became clear that “it was for one of the most famous people on the planet,” he said.
Indeed, no response from the public after a small-screen appearance has been quite as enthusiastic as the one the company received from Swift’s extraordinarily devoted army of fans.
On Friday night, the Twitter account for Taylor Swift Style — a blog which typically points fans toward the earrings, high heels, and sweaters the singer is seen wearing — directed thousands of Swifties to the casket company’s product, which came as a shock to Siegel.
Titan, which has publicly pushed for reform of the funeral industry, is seizing its moment. The company replied to comments on the account’s post with information about the Federal Trade Commission’s Funeral Rule, mandating that grieving families be allowed to use caskets from third-party vendors to bury their loved ones.
Following one fan’s suggestion, it even offered a $50.13 discount to buyers who use the code “SWIFTIE” at checkout (13 is Swift’s favorite number).
Siegel said Titan is open to working with Swift in the future if she would like to become partners in spreading the word about casket affordability and funeral preparedness.
“One idea we had was to follow her on tour with the product and raise awareness outside events, and we’d love to do a collaboration,” Siegel said. “But we haven’t reached out.”
As of Tuesday no one had taken advantage of the “SWIFTIE” promotion, which the company plans to continue to offer “indefinitely,” Siegel said. And to his knowledge, the sudden swell of attention has not led to any sort of spike in sales.
“You either need a coffin or you don’t,” he said.