Award-Winning Lawyer Commercials

Think of some celebrated television commercials and you might imagine majestic Clydesdale horses, drop-dead-gorgeous super-models or humorous talking geckos. So to receive praise—and even an award—for lawyer commercials?

In true fashion, the 100-year old Advertising Club of New Orleans’ recent advertising industry awards gala gave its top TV prize to a big-budget spot for locally-brewed Dixie Beer. But, more remarkably, the Silver award went to legal marketing agency Firmidable for its television campaign for a workers’ compensation law firm based in Rapid City, South Dakota.(Learn more about Firmidable’s specialized workers’ comp law firm marketing.)

“We’ve never been so proud to be Number Two,” Firmidable Founder and President Nathan Chapman said with a laugh. “For over 25 years we’ve created the nation’s very best legal marketing right here from New Orleans. But year after year, it’s been impossible to compete for advertising awards with sexier subjects. This year, we thought we had a shot.”

The judges, who are brought in from other cities to avoid bias, agreed.

“Our client didn’t have the budget to fly in a crew to South Dakota for a multi-day shoot,” recalled Chapman, who also serves as the agency’s creative director. So the agency had to start by getting creative with the budget. It arranged for some of the law firm’s clients to go to a Rapid City recording studio where Chapman asked them to tell their personal stories of how ordinary workdays became nightmares after becoming injured and denied workers’ comp benefits.



How to Break Free of Cookie-Cutter TV Lawyer Commercials >>

From New Orleans, Chapman conducted the interviews using a video chat service so he could look the interviewees in the eye and establish a rapport. The interviewees often choked up with the emotion of their stories, something Chapman doesn’t feel would have occurred if he was just a voice on the phone.

The interview audio was edited in house by Firmidable production manager Cindy Bower and then turned over to art director Ellie Platt, who worked with New Orleans motion designer and animator Joe Fleming to illustrate the commercial series.

Ellie and Joe drew upon an animation technique known as kinetic typography—where the motion of words and graphics creates its own attention-grabbing imagery.

“Great advertising is not about the advertiser, it’s about the audience,” Chapman said. “You don’t hear from any lawyers in these spots. We let ordinary people tell their stories.”

When done, the agency felt they had something special. Recognizing that legal advertising virtually never wins an advertising award, Firmidable Vice President Katie Baxter smiled: “I don’t think I’ve ever heard such a loud cheer when they announced a Silver award before.”

About Firmidable: Firmidable has been a national expert in legal marketing for almost 30 years. It brings law firms customized, data-driven marketing strategies and services, including online and traditional media for a wide range of legal practices. From Maine to Hawaii, it has transformed the lives of attorneys—and their clients.

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About the Author: Mark Waller

Mark Waller is the senior writer/editor at Firmidable. He has written book-length websites for law firms, enhanced content on dozens of law firm sites for search engine optimization, written and optimized law firm Paid Search ads and developed scripts for law firm TV ads—helping firms across America grow their caseloads. Before he started in legal marketing, Mark’s writing and communications career included working for a university president and as a local journalist. He was a member of the staff at The Times-Picayune newspaper in New Orleans that won the Pulitzer Prize for its coverage of Hurricane Katrina.

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