Many in the legal community have seen the two-minute long commercial by Jamie Casino, a personal injury attorney in Savannah, Ga., that went viral after being aired locally during Super Bowl halftime. The law firm ad was so atypical for a lawyer commercial, it went viral and received more than 4.7 million views on YouTube. More like a movie trailer for a suspense thriller than a law firm commercial, the ad combined a few outrageous elements:
- A soul-searching Casino (with a Nicholas Cage-like brooding look), devastated over the sudden murder of his brother
- Heavy metal
- Sweeping views of a church and graveyard at night
- An innocent child
- A sledgehammer used to smash a gravestone in the name of justice
Did I mention that there wasn’t the typical phone number or “Call Now” flashing across the bottom of the screen? He barely even mentioned the name of his law firm, Jamie Casino Injury Attorneys.
So, what is it about this law firm commercial that got so many people watching and talking about it? And what can the rest of the legal world learn from Casino? Whether you produce videos for your firm or are engaged in other types of marketing efforts, here are a few important law firm marketing do’s and don’ts à la Jamie Casino:
Do tell a great story — The story does read like a movie script, and that’s what hooked us. Brother gunned down. Police chief with questionable backstory. Soul-searching defense attorney turned vigilante attorney for the innocent.
Do find new ways to break through the cluttered world of legal marketing — Lawyers regularly compete for rankings, prime conference speaking slots, quotes in news articles and ad space. Personal injury attorney commercials basically all look the same and are competing for our attention on daytime TV. We are used to seeing lawyers in those places. However, a movie-trailer-like commercial during the most-watched TV event of the year? That captures our attention and makes us watch.
Don’t use a tragedy as your marketing hook — While it is devastating for anyone to lose a loved one in such a horrendous and public way, I don’t think spending millions to create a commercial calling out injustice would be how most people deal with it. Casino may have been looking to create an edgy, powerful commercial that would get noticed, but using his brother’s death as the plotline seems a bit distasteful.
Don’t overload your story and risk confusing the audience — Compelling as it was, there were some elements in the commercial that were just plain confusing without knowing the background of the case. The sledgehammer smashing a gravestone? In an interview, Casino explains that he “hates gravestones … a gravestone to me is not a memorial. It’s a reminder of this tragedy.” If you have to explain it, it’s not being presented in a way that’s easily understood. And the possibly corrupt police chief who resigned? I had to read some backstories from the Savannah Morning News to get the full context, but suffice it to say, that part of the plot was just distracting from Casino’s main message.
Don’t make it hard for your audience to find you — After the commercial, I was left wondering … “Is this for real? How can I find Jamie Casino and see if he is a real lawyer?” There was a #Casinoslaw hashtag at the very end of the commercial, but I was looking for a website, phone number or Twitter handle. When I Googled Jamie Casino, his website didn’t even show up on the first few pages. After a few creative search terms, I did find his website, but someone who is marketing himself shouldn’t make it that hard to be found. I know Casino was trying to be more subtle in his approach than his personal injury colleagues typically are and it was intended for a local audience, but some form of contact information at the end should have been included to make it easier for potential clients to find him.
Despite some of the missteps in this campaign, ultimately it is proving to be a huge success, and Casino is reaping the rewards. A lawyer with a vision, Casino found a creative way to get his name out there and showcase his skills effectively to more than 4.7 million people actively watching it on YouTube and countless others who saw it on local TV in Savannah. Whether that visibility will be long-lasting will depend on his ability to keep pushing the envelope and marketing himself. Perhaps we can revisit this in a year and see for ourselves.
What are your thoughts on the Casino commercial? Leave a comment or contact Terry M. Isner at email@example.com.