Under the Influence

This divorce firm's YouTube campaign earned 90M impressions

The legal industry in North America will spend north of $1B on advertising this year. And as a result, some law firm advertising is good, some of it bad, but a handful of it highly creative.

Law associations in the United States and Canada forbid law firms from advertising until the '70s and '80s respectively.

They believed advertising would erode a client's trust in the lawyer by exposing an economic motivation for representation. And that "hawking one's wares" would tarnish a lawyer's image.

In other words, law was a profession, not a trade.

Today, things have changed drastically.

Law firms not only advertise, they have in-house marketing departments. There are now advertising agencies that specialize in the law firm category.

The legal industry in Canada and the United States will spend north of $1B on advertising this year.

And as a result, some law firm advertising is good, some of it bad, but a handful of it is highly creative.

Divorce Happens

Take this campaign from the Maryland-based divorce firm Esteban Gergely.

The small law office was looking to compete with much larger law firms. So they took to YouTube – a place where many couples post their wedding and honeymoon videos.

The law firm posted a series of three videos which, by the thumbnails, appeared to be just that.

One was called "The Best Day of our Lives: Memories from our Wedding." Another was titled: "Josh and Kimberly: Anniversary trip to Mallorca."

Esteban Gergley then emailed the links to 700 prospective clients.

But when clients clicked play, they didn't see couples walking hand-in-hand on the beach. Instead, this happened:

The ad agency that created the campaign said: "The removal of a video from YouTube tells a story on its own" - since in today's world, when someone gets divorced, they often "remove all evidence of their former happy lives" from social media.

It was a bold strategy. Not only because it packed a surprise, but because a video with the words "removed by the user" is usually the kiss of death on YouTube.

But it paid off. The ads went viral – earning over 90M media impressions from around the world. The marketing industry called it one of the most creative law firm campaigns of the year.

Esteban Gergely saw a 2000 per cent increase in visitors to their site. And a 300 per cent increase in divorce-related calls.

Proving that when it comes to effective advertising, creativity is the law.

For more creative law firm advertising stories, click or tap the "Listen" tab above to hear the full Under the Influence episode. You can also find us on the CBC Radio app or subscribe to our Podcast.

Under the Influence is recorded in the Terstream Mobile Recording studio - a 1969 Airstream trailer that's been restored and transformed into a studio on wheels. So host Terry O'Reilly can record the show wherever he goes.
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The Terstream Mobile Recording Studio. (Image Credit: Sidney O'Reilly)