Advertise with Celebrities – Ethically! (Part A)

I'm quite confident in saying that almost every state Bar association has some sort of restriction on the use of celebrity endorsements for lawyer advertising and legal marketing. Most of the Bar rules are in place to not only level the playing field, but to protect clients from unethical legal marketing tactics.

However, as I said in my article on ethical marketing, when there's a will there's a way - and it's up to us entrepreneurial lawyers to find that way.

What IS a celebrity and why do we care?

As long as there have been talented, unique people in our population, there have been celebrities. Basically anyone who gains public notoriety, whether bad or good, becomes a celebrity for even a brief moment (especially now with the help of the Internet).

We care about celebrities because they're different from us, which can make their lives and achievements interesting. Long-standing celebrities such as many artists, actors, and political figures often have a profound impact on our lives. It's attributes like this that make us want to listen to them and follow what they're doing.

Advertisers learned long ago that celebrity endorsement was a great idea. People love and trust their celebrities, and they're way more willing to listen to a familiar face than some random stranger when it comes to buying a new product or service. That's the basic principle of word-of-mouth legal marketing, only this time the mouth is that of a celebrity - someone you feel you know just because they're in the public eye so much.

But Ben, I couldn't afford a celebrity even if the Bar let me!

Consider how we defined a celebrity, it's someone who is in the public eye and has gained notoriety among the population. A national celebrity is someone like a famous actor or musician, but you being a local attorney can put local celebrities to work for your legal marketing.

The mayor of your town is a local celebrity, because almost every resident (should) know them. In small towns, the local family doctor may also be a good figure of trust and respect to get involved with. Prominent public figures such as businessmen, police chiefs, firefighters, and anyone else the local people feel a connection to are fodder for your lawyer advertising ideas.

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Ben Glass
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Ben is a nationally recognized expert in attorney marketing and the owner of Great Legal Marketing.