Using "T&A" to sell Divorce

Tell me what you think -- what do you make of this law firm ad on a downtown Chicago billboard?
The billboard promotes Fetman, Garland & Associates, Ltd., an all woman-lawyer firm specializing in divorce, and it has the city in a twitter.  I just appeared on MSNBC TV at Noon to comment on the ad (my 15 minutes of fame).
I I said that as a happily married guy (holding up the ring on my left hand) I thought it was funny, and my wife would probably think so too.
From a strictly marketing standpoint, I told the TV interviewer that the billboard succeeded at three different levels:
  • It got people to notice the ad and remember it.
  • It evoked an emotional response.
  • It created buzz all by itself.
Obviously the ad appeals to married people unhappy with their sex lives, and feeds into their fantasy that Miss or Mr. Beautiful is out there waiting for them.  Unfortunately, these beautiful people are all taken, as we know.  But that's reality, and advertising is all about perception.
I added that it will make the clergy and political conservatives angry, because it promotes divorce.  But heck, that's the service the lawyers are offering.  ...and sex sells, or "t*ts and abs" in this case.
If you were facing a national TV audience, what would YOU have said?
[News update: a Chicago alderman had the billboard removed on May 8 because it lacked the proper permit.]
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Comments (3) Read through and enter the discussion with the form at the end
Laura Mosiello - May 9, 2007 7:24 AM

Larry, Larry, Larry. There's a first time for everything and this first is that I disagree with you. The only T and A in this advertising is that it's tacky and asinine.

While the shock value indeed has created buzz and a regional firm now has national reputation, the ad misses out on a core thing. Sure--it goes for "buyer motivation", but frankly, the headline would have been more effective without the T&A images. But by promoting the firm's divorce services with T&A, they've created a reputation for their personality which is crass. Lawyers are always dealing with public scorn, this just adds fuel to the fire.

The fact is, the "best" advertising hones in on buyer motivation, promotes the unique selling proposition, presents distinguishing characteristics, and assures the buyer of getting what they want.

THe lust motivation is only temporary and truth be told, it's not the greatest factor in the divorce mindset. IMO, yes, getting back to living life is a motivation for some, but that living life is not about bedding the beauties or going for the BBD (bigger, better deal) out there.

Again, the headline works, the images kill the effectiveness.

Think of it, if you were divorcing (and I know you're not as you held up your ring finger with pride), you'd want what--a firm that get you what you want--out of the marriage, fair distribution of assets, appropriate custody arrangement, and help you from being taken to the cleaners.

Had I consulted with this firm, I would have allowed the headline, just not the sexy images. It's not what divorce is about and it just ultimately made them look bad. THey will forever be referred to as the T&A firm. That, IMO, will not result in more clients, it will in fact hurt them when obtaining new clients. And legal marketing is about business development, lest we forget.

Tom - January 15, 2008 4:23 PM

More power to her. Americans are so prudish. Check out what Europeans sell via "racy" ads!

D Silverstein - May 9, 2010 7:51 AM

Another method of using sex to sell divorce. There was a time when our judiciary operated under the guise that marriage ment stability for society.

THe message is simply "the grass is greener on the other side"

Lets see mentally destroyed , busted out and kids in a quandry is no way live out ones life. Not to mention the childrens future that is stolen to support the folks that surround the industry.

Matrimonial lawyers need to be capped at 500 dollars per side or get a real job.

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