Bad Lawyer Billboards (part 1 of 2)
Billboards are a long established medium of communication, used to convey a broad range of different kinds of messages. But whatever its communicative function, the billboard remains a large, immobile, and permanent structure which like other structures is subject to regulation.
–Justice John Paul Stevens Metromedia, Inc. v. San Diego, 453 U.S. 490 (1981)
I am so sick of seeing lawyer billboards.
-Everyone since Justice Stevens
There are several websites which claim to have the “worst lawyer billboards,” but they all consist of the same stale examples when there are so many fine specimens to choose from. Florida just loosened lawyer ad regulation, starting May 1, so the instant classics should increase.
Jacksonville, Florida might be the lawyer billboard capital of the world with Farah & Farah competing with Morgan & Morgan competing with Harrell & Harrell competing with everyone else. Yet, Florida has some of the comparatively more strict advertising rules. Spend a night or two watching television in Texas or Nevada and you will see some crazy things.
I am not calling these the worst or tackiest and definitely not the craziest, but here are 25 billboards or outdoor ads that are definitely bad in various aspects of the word. We will single out print media and commercials soon. I am asking -begging– for submissions. In the meantime, here is the wall of shame of bad lawyer billboards-
25. I am hoping to replace this one with some of your submissions, but it struck me as just barely cheesy enough to make the list. Carter Mario looks like a nice guy. But from a marketing perspective, one would prefer a billboard which shows how to actually get Carter.
24. If the Addams family had a lawyer… (snap, snap)…
23. Lawyer. Warrior. Prefers the Right Side of his Face. Pinkerton.
22. I don’t know Bryan Moore and so I can’t judge whether or not he is the “Bulldog,” but there mere fact he calls himself the “Bulldog” on a billboard, probably means he isn’t. I wish I had a 50-something friend who liked to be called “Bulldog.” Oh, wait, we have a “Catfish” in Jacksonville.
21. You will see me go after cartoon lawyers later on. Cartoon hawgs aren’t as bad, but still very deserving of a spot amongst the top bad lawyer billboards. I smell bar-b-que.
20. I appreciate the message to spay or neuter your pets, but to use animals and talk about “fixing” them simultaneously with pitching legal services is just too profound to leave it off of this list. I think we need to send the “Bulldog” over there.
19. Advertising in the crazy marketplace of lawyers sometimes takes some branding magic. This guy took that too literally. I wonder if he will make your money disappear.
18. This one deserves little commentary. If a lawyer is going to try and be funny and enter the comedic arena, he or she better do better than this. #Boo. I suspect the Caress Group would open up for Bob The Magic Lawyer at the Comedy Cellar if there was a touring act for bad lawyers.
17. Personal injury isn’t funny. It isn’t a game. Florida and other states prohibit lawyers from advertising with certain images- car crashes, ambulances and the like. A couple of those stuck out amongst a large group of lawyers smiling despite pitching catastrophe.
This lawyer thought it was more important to have a car crash through his billboard than to have his name, his firm name, his area code or any other pertinent information on his sign. He didn’t forget his smiling face, including having his head be bigger than the billboard. I just picture guys carrying his hair around a warehouse like the world’s largest toupee. It is one of the tackiest lawyer billboards we have in our list and we can’t even give him credit because we can’t find his name.
16. If the mystery lawyer above isn’t lowering the bar, our next entrant certainly does. Not only is someone’s wrecked car behind him, with a rescue worked coming to the victim’s aid, but there he stands, ready to hand out a card rather than render aid. And then, he starts off with the word “KILLED” in all bold font. Forget ambulance chasing, he’s hearse chasing. Do the math, over $150 million “recovered for victims” yet we suspect you’d have to subtract 33%-plus-plus to see what his victims have actually received, but that figure wouldn’t be as staggering. I’d like to know what his office charged for copies of that $150 million. We don’t charge for copies.
Look, I do personal injury, but you don’t sensationalize the tragedy or keep a running count of a gross sum that means very little in the scheme of things.
15.”In a wreck? Need a check?” is used by lawyers all across the country. I hear Charles Pittman has billboards all over north Alabama touting it. They probably followed Glen Lerner, one of the original of all untraditional (pronounced sketchy) advertisers. He’s been subject of much scrutiny by the Nevada Bar, as he frequently tests the bounds of poking fun at himself and depicting himself as a super hero, conservatively estimating spending $3 million a year in Las Vegas alone. He also apparently failed to show up for the trial of a client- no biggie.
We could probably spend hours on Glen Lerner, alone, but as we have few examples of his billboards, and the criticism is based on a group of billboards across the country that do not focus on fair recovery but wrecks and checks, we will leave him here with room to move up.
14. “Yo Sisters in Law”? I prefer attorneys who articulate. I hate the commercials locally who pitch based on slang and “keep it real.” You know what happens to the lawyer who talks like that to the judge, an appellate court or a decent jury? They go home sad. I spent days research a piece on “Attorney Big Al,” whose race-baiting ad campaign plays to the African American community despite being run by people who neither look nor sound like their misrepresentative ads. At least “Yo Sisters In Law” isn’t some Wizard of Oz mirage.
Cute works in this business and she has appeal. And so many branding ideas are already taken, but it still doesn’t sit right with me- but it wasn’t meant to.
13. Playing on stereotypes brings us to our next entry. There was a firm in Florida who was criticized over using a marketing tagline that they handled divorce cases “for men only.” At least they didn’t go the next step and ask, “ever argued with a woman?” I am sure they have. I don’t get it- are they saying they are good or bad at arguing. I’d love to see these firms face off against each other- in the battle of the (billboard) sexes.
12. And then there is this entry from the “half price lawyer” gang. If you want a cartoon lawyer with more zeros than I have ever seen before (in the number, of course), then give them a call. It is a Las Vegas ad and choosing cut-rate lawyers is about as much of a gamble as one can get. And then there is the asterisk you might have trouble seeing from the street- injury cases don’t apply.
11. I don’t even think this one is that bad. David Komie has branded himself as the “attorney that rocks,” complete with dreads and metal graphics. When you add in his rock video / commercial, it puts it far over the top and worthy of this list. I am sure he’d consider it a badge of honor.