As a lawyer, I hate all lawyers, and I really hate lawyer advertising.
I have never seen an advertisement that made me want to hire that lawyer, but I have seen a lot of ads that made me NOT want to hire that lawyer. If lawyers actually conveyed the truth behind their ads, this is what they would actually say in these respective medias.
1 Billboard. Look up here, I am a lawyer, and I am on a billboard! Look at how serious my face is in this picture, this is how serious I will take your case. This ad is really about my ego, and I want you to put a face to the ensuing incompetence if you hire me. Just so you know, the selective placement of this billboard above this gas station (in a bad neighborhood) is not an indication of the type of clients I am hoping to represent. Call “our offices” 24/7 (I only have one office, and the number is my cell phone)!
2 Video Ad. Oh hey, here is a video ad of me sandwiched between Wheel of Fortune and Jeopardy! I am a mildly-ferocious advocate despite the fact I am awkwardly reciting (reading off a cue card) my scripted pitch line as I talk with my hands in a blank stare. Now here is an action shot of me pretending to read law-books in my conference room/public library. Here is a shot of me walking the empty court room halls on a weekend; and here is a shot of me making a loud argument to a non-existent judge in an empty courtroom on that same weekend (I changed my tie for this shot!). To really show my “legal acumen”, here is a parting visual of me walking down the court house steps with my handsome cousin, Todd, (wearing the suit I lent him), who is pretending to be a very important and satisfied client. Call me, gang!
3 Yellow Pages. Hi, poor people! I know most of you do not do not have TVs and/or access to the internet, and utilize the Yellow Pages. Ironically, my solo practice is also poor (as evidenced by this yellow pages ad), so call me, poor people, I can help you help me! And if you happen to come across a random yellow pages book, please open the page to my ad and leave it open so that other poor people may call me for help.
4 Radio. Whuzzupp sports-radio listeners, I am quickly rattling off my name and qualifications that have little or no correlation to my ability to represent you. I only have fifteen seconds, so I am talking really fast so I have time to repeat my phone number 3 times at the end. Se habla Español, amigos!
5 Facebook/Twitter. Hello, friend. I know it is hard for you to picture me as a competent professional, since you have seen me make an endless series of questionable life decisions, and maybe saw me pee my pants (on purpose) on Bourbon Street, but can you please refer your friends and family with legal problems to me? I promise to help them out the best I can. #malpractice.
Not that there is any better way to advertise as a lawyer, and I realize lawyer advertising (especially Yellow Pages) is actually effective, but lawyers need to re-think their ads and the messages they are conveying—i.e. resist the urge to be such a douche bag (or douche baguette) in their ads. Is there a more effective form of advertising I am forgetting (maybe Craigslist-Casual Encounters section)?
Post image from Flickr.com: http://www.flickr.com/photos/drmillerlg/4699069522