created for lawyers by Ross Fishman. That very same day, I received an email from Ross, complimenting
this ethics-haiku weblog, introducing himself, and offering a bit of original “haiku dedicated to badly designed
law firm Yellow Pages advertising.”
Normally, the only amateur haiku on this weblog is my own, but Ross has made a good start as a haijin,
so I’ll share his with you, before taking a closer look at the Red Jackals ad campaign:
turning thin Yellow Pages.
“DIVORCE!” “INJURED?” Woe.
Like Ross’ Red Jackal Ads, haiku honors brevity and eschews extra words, leaving it to the reader to draw
upon his or her own experience. With a little pruning, this poem could be a powerful haiku that depicts a vulnerable psyche seeking help, but battered by the reality of those banner headlines. [Imagine the reaction, if she or he had encountered my first tiny Yellow Pages ad for divorce mediation -- which was run right under the category heading "Martial Law."]
the unemployed foxes
cry out at the world
Issa, translated by D. G. Lanoue As Ross has explored this weblog and knows where I’m coming from, I hope he won’t mind me also asking a few
questions relating to his Red Jackals Ad services. Ernie quotes this excerpt from a Lawyers Weekly USA article, the
second sentence of which is highlighted frequently at Ross’ site:
“Since opening his solo family law boutique just over a year ago, Vancouver attorney Lorne MacLean
has accomplished the seemingly impossible: By simply changing the design of his Yellow Pages ad, he
increased his firm’s already significant profits by more than 200 percent.”
This sounds almost too good to be true. I don’t know if Ernie read the rest of the article, but I did, and Ross probably
did, too. The article goes on to explain that (emphasis added):
“When MacLean decided to go out on his own last year, he wanted to attract ‘more upscale, more sophisticated,
“We created a two-page spread for the Yellow Pages . .
“MacLean . . . bought a custom-designed, comprehensive advertising campaign for his business – including ‘image’ ads for local-circulation business journals, and glossies such as Vancouver magazine to raise his visibility among upscale readers and potential sources of client referrals. He paid about $20,000 for the whole package.”
This added information makes me wonder what baseline was used for the “200 percent” profit increase of a newly-established law practice, and suggests that a little more than “simply changing the design of his Yellow Pages ad” was involved.
heading for where
hunting birds are few…
Issa, translated by D. G. Lanoue
In the article Ross is quoted saying “A Yellow Pages rep needs every one of his advertisers to get an equal amount of business. . . . If one ad were to start getting all the best calls in the ‘Lawyers’ category, the competitors would be furious at their rep.” That does not jibe with my own experience as a yellow-page advertiser. How would any one — rep or law firm — know how much business was driven to another firm’s ads? My rep never brought up the subject with me.
the wolf too
peeks out his hole…
Issa, translated by D. G. Lanoue
More important, Ernie asks “But, what’s wrong with using a tasteful and effective ad that makes you stand out as a lawyer who is different than the crowd? Nothing, as far as I can tell.“ I’m not so sure. This advertising campaign can only lead to an ad war, increasing the marketing expenses of many law firms, especially those seeking the treasured “high-end” client. The result can only be higher fees for clients, garnered by ads that actually contain less information and instead try to evoke an emotional closeness between lawyer and client. It raises the issues treated in prior postings here, such as Brand LEX and Another Lap Around LawFirm Branding. More revenues for ad agencies and higher profits for some lawyers, without an increase in the quality of legal services. Such a deal!
update (Nov. 22, 2004): In a Comment that I hope you’ll read in full, Ross Fishman has responded to the issues that
are raised above about the services of his ad agency. In jackal sequel, Your Editor replies.
garbage cans overflow –
a fat squirrel ignores
man and river
[Nov 17, 2004]
Prof. Bainbridge, in The Role of Bloggers, says “Bloggers are NOT journalists. We don’t claim to be journalists and we never agreed to sign off on the rules journalists supposedly live with.” His “we” seems to be rather myopic. “They” missed BloggerCon and even our related posts.