For the most part, lawyer TV ads are serious and formulaic. Most still talk about how long a law firm has been around, reputation, academic background and pedigree. The ads haven’t changed much in thirty years. And humor in lawyer ads is essentially taboo. Which could be a big mistake. Consider insurance company ads from Geico, Liberty Mutual, All State. Not only do these sophisticated marketers perpetually use humor in their ads despite addressing a serious subject, they even make light of accidents. Think All State’s “Mayhem” character shown in various accident scenarios. You may contend they can get away with it because insurance companies are selling policies before the accident occurs while PI attorneys are signing up clients after the accident when victims are in a different state of mind. But based on empirical evidence, Davis Ad Agency disagrees.
Ten years ago, a brand new PI law firm in the South hired us to put them on the map. They were unknown and as a new firm did not have the resources to match competitors TV spend. Our TV ads and marketing had to work twice as hard. So we decided to try humorous ads. And fortunately, humor delivered serious results. Calls and cases climbed. Affection for the brand grew. Attorneys at the firm could feel the brand energy in the market, in their neighborhoods, everywhere they went. And to their credit pushed us, the ad agency, to take the humor level up even higher. We laughed. It was a blast. Case growth picked up even more. Today, the law firm has expanded from one market to three and is one of the largest, most successful firms in the state. And they’re still running our funny ads.
So, why did humor work? Because the ads brought a smile to our target market’s face and they grew to love the brand. They didn’t really care about the traditional law firm Unique Selling Propositions. They just wanted a likable lawyer. And were sold on our client’s law firm before even getting into an accident.
Additionally, because the ads were fun and different, they broke through the clutter, putting less pressure on media budgets. The creative simply worked harder.
So, the next time your ad agency asks you to consider injecting a little humor into your law firm ads, take them seriously. The results just may put a smile on your face.