I watched the radio sales representative walk away from my office. I had a nervous “pit” in my stomach because I had just signed a contract to commit to a year of radio advertising. The firm was now going to spend $700 a month on radio, on an AM station. That commitment was now, in addition to the one-half page yellow page ad that had been placed the year before.
Sometime after that, I tried or settled some cases that led me to commit to TV advertising. It was in the Hampton Roads market. Thereafter, I committed to the Richmond TV market. Of course, this is several years ago. At that time, I would regularly hear “Hey, I saw you on TV the other day” or “Does that TV advertising work?”.
Soon, I began to see several law firms advertising on television. At that point, I decided that I needed to do more than just ask people to call. I didn’t have an agency to help me. In fact, most agencies had never worked with any lawyers. At this point, some lawyers were just outright disgusted with lawyer advertising and weren’t afraid to say so; Some even said it to my face.
Lawyers against advertising seemed to fall into two camps. Either they felt that the profession was too dignified for it; or they felt that anyone that advertised must not be much of a lawyer. That school of thought basically felt that any lawyer who had to advertise, was obviously not a lawyer that anyone was already calling. Why would lawyers with known skills need to advertise?
If you could see me typing my blog right now, you would see a slight smile on my face. This makes me travel a bit down memory lane. Sometimes, I wasn’t sure about the advertising, but felt I had to just push out.
As it began to circulate through the legal community that people did respond to advertising, then I would hear a whisper campaign that “advertising lawyers don’t try cases” or “Even if advertising does bring in business, I’d never stoop to doing such a thing”,
Some of those thoughts came back to me as I read the “Richmond Times-Dispatch” article on current political TV advertising. Apparently, we are in for a lot of political advertising in the coming months, and it feels like we have already been bombarded.
This year alone in the Richmond market, 13.4 million dollars have been placed and we are still more than 75 days away from the Presidential election. That doesn’t even count any state or local elections. Karl Rove’s Crossroads PAC has placed over 15 million in advertising across the state, with about 2.3 million of that in Richmond, so far.
Separately from those amounts listed, Obama and Romney have their own PACs. There are Federal law limits on how much you can give to any one candidate, but there is no limit to the amount that can be given to PACs. Plus, those amounts don’t have to be identified and reported.
Political advertising impacts lawyer advertising because political advertising overrides all other advertising. Plus, political advertising is guaranteed by law, to pay the lowest per point rate on all stations. No one can pay any lower. So, even if I want to pay more for an ad; it doesn’t matter. If a political candidate or PAC wants that spot in that time period they are going to get it.
Today, lawyer advertising is changing. Firms that have decided that they “want to try TV advertising” soon are very disappointed. It is now hard to bust through the clutter. It means that law firms have to look to other areas. Now, lawyers don’t ask me if TV works. Instead, I hear questions like “Do you know anything about Internet advertising” or “Who writes your blog?”. As to that blog question, I am still looking for volunteers!
For pic 0′ day, I have thought of many different advertising ideas. Here’s one that I haven’t tried: