TV Ad Lawyer v. Online Video Lawyer- Part 6

In today’s slugfest we ask the question:

“Why do TV ad lawyers continue to throw their TV ads onto YouTube?”

Our special reporter, Johnny B. Goode, filed this report.

Dateline: New York, NY

Six years ago, when YouTube was a nascent and fledgling website, nobody knew what to make of this site. Nobody had any idea what ‘user-generated-video’ would be used for. Some enterprising advertising companies figured that since they already had lawyer commercials ‘in the can’, what harm could happen by throwing it up onto this new website called Youtube?

And that’s what they did. Lawyers put up their 30 second commercials. They were not optimized, and gave a viewer no real information. The TV ad companies thought that if these commercials were working in the TV format, then it would be no different online.

Oh were they wrong. Really wrong.

Around that same time, one really enterprising and savvy attorney had an idea. He asked this question:

“If a viewer is going online to look for information about which lawyer to hire, how can a consumer distinguish one lawyer from another if all they are doing is putting their TV commercial online?”

The problem is an age-old one for the TV ad lawyer. “How do you distinguish yourself from all the other lawyers who advertise and handle the same type of law that you do?” This savvy lawyer asked every TV ad lawyer the same question. The answer was disheartening. “My ad doesn’t set me apart,” was the self-realizing answer.

Some TV ad lawyers tried to answer by explaining features of their firm:

  • We have more experience,
  • We offer personal attention,
  • We’re trial lawyers,
  • We offer free parking.

Despite these answers, this savvy lawyer explained that ‘free parking’ is not a compelling reason for a viewer to call.

The inherent problem for these TV ad lawyers was that none of their ads were able to set themselves apart from their competitors. The ads focused on the lawyer or law firm and was all about “Me, me, me.” Nothing about the ad explained much of anything. That’s the drawback to a TV ad…you have only 30 seconds to get your sales message out. Clearly, that’s insufficient time to explain your message to a viewer.

This smart lawyer with an idea was learning a new concept from some very smart marketing guys. It was called “Education-based marketing.” The focus of that style of marketing was to educate your ideal client or consumer before you ever met them.

Interestingly, no lawyers were using this method of marketing six years ago. Except one. His name was Ben Glass, a personal injury lawyer from Fairfax, Virginia. He did something that no other attorney in the country was doing. He was educating his consumers. Teaching them. Taking the time to explain to them. This was a novel and unique concept.

Fast forward to this other smart and savvy lawyer who had an idea. “What if you combine an educational message with video and put it online?” This lawyer’s name is well-known to you now, and he’s the Founder of the Lawyers Video Studio. Gerry Oginski is a pioneer who took video and combined it with educational messages that no longer focused on the lawyer or his law firm. In fact, I believe he was the first lawyer in the Country to put education-based messages on video to market his law firm.

Fast Forward Six Years

YouTube has just celebrated their 6 year birthday. Three BILLION video views a day. Tons of video uploaded every minute. Yet, TV ad lawyers continue to post their 30 seconds commercials onto YouTube. The only question to be asked is “WHY?”

There is still no way to distinguish yourself from your competitors in a 30 second TV commercial. The TV ad lawyer doesn’t give a viewer any useful content that explains information they need to know. Why then are the TV ad agencies and TV studios still throwing those ads up onto YouTube?

The answer, we think, is because it’s sitting around doing nothing and might give the TV ad lawyer some greater exposure.

Yet, Gerry Oginski always asks this question:

“If a viewer is going online to search for information about their legal problem, do you really think they’re going to find the answer in the form of a TV lawyer commercial?” The answer is “No.”

Well, that’s it for today’s installment of this slugfest of the TV ad lawyer v. Online Video lawyer. Thanks for reading.


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Gerry, I've read your book and watched at least 100 of your videos, and follow your blog, so "I feel like I know you already!".

I wanted to introduce myself, I work for an attorney, David Aylor, in the Charleston, SC area. I do all his in house marketing, and most recently have focused on video marketing, using your approach.

We started exploring the strategy last July, started filming by September, and published the first video to YouTube Nov. 1. I am now publishing 2 videos per week and the response had been great.

I want to share with you how we have be utilizing the material on Facebook, to build a community of "friends" of the law firm. These are previous clients, referral sources, friends of the staff, other attorneys, new media (radio, TV, and print) as well as other prominent folks in the community.

I really was against the idea of Facebook marketing at first (because I think there's alot of hacks and snake oil salesmen in the "social media/SEO marketing" world). But I was very wrong, the content we are creating is being liked, shared, and commented on, and Facebook's strong community platform (and it's EdgeRank algorithm) is giving us a great way to keep our "inner circle" close to the office, and relevant in the minds of them and their friends.

This was the first video we posted to Facebook-
"Can My Facebook Profile Be Used As Evidence In Court?"
95 likes, 25 comments, 27 shares

The local NBC anchor actually saw it in his Facebook feed from a friend sharing it, and interviewed David Aylor for a 6 o'clock news story on Social Media and Privacy in the legal system. (you can see here if you'd like

I would love to show you more about how I'm strategizing these videos for YouTube use as well as Facebook now. I think there are definitely some areas of practice and law firms that it wouldn't work for, but I'm sure there are a bunch that would benefit from it.

Thanks for all you do, and I hope I get the pleasure of meeting you soon!

David Haskins