Life Is Short, Hire An Ad Agency?

    Here is the latest brouhaha in legal marketing circles. The question being posed on marketing listservs is: good ad orCwl1007may bad? (Click to enlarge image.) First, for the background on this billboard, sponsored by two female divorce attorneys, which appeared and quickly disappeared in Chicago (over a technicality having to do with a permit), click here.
    A summary of the arguments for and against the ad:
    Pro: 1.) The ad does what ads are supposed to do: it grabbed your attention. 2.) It generated enormous buzz, including millions of dollars of free publicity nation-wide. 3.) It went right to the heart of the matter for unhappily married people: are you willing to spend the rest of your life being unhappy? 4.) Sex sells. 5.) Although it is early to tell, early results indicate the ad was effective. The law firm was flooded with calls from potential clients. 6.) It was funny.
    Con: 1.) The ad is tacky and undignified and reflects badly on the profession. 2) Divorce is a serious matter, leaving in its wake traumatized children and wounded adults, not funny.  3.)  The visual message implies that you should get a divorce because there is someone out there with a better body than your spouse. 4.) The billboard conveys the impression that the lawyers are jokesters, not the kind of people one would want by one’s side in the painful process of divorce. 5.) How much hostility did the law firm stir up against itself, along with all the publicity?
    One advertising professional’s take: "It’s kind of the equivalent of wearing a clown suit to a funeral — you get everybody’s attention, but to what end?"