Wednesday, July 2, 2008

The verdict on these Schroder Joseph and Associates' ads? Pretty good.

In February I posted about the killjoyness that is most law firm advertising. There's a strain of thinking that says since the law is a serious business, firms must promote themselves in only the most staid way possible, and anything that couldn't be created by Ross Fishman's Automatic Ad Generator falls outside the lines of good taste.

Well, the women at Schroder Joseph & Associates have a better idea: why not create ads that differentiate their firm, get noticed, and invite the audience to have a little fun? The all-female firm put together an ad campaign that does all of those things by turning some common stereotypes on their head. The Buffalo News explains:

“Ever Argue with a Woman?” reads the headline of one of the ads for Schroder Joseph & Associates LLP. “Labor Pains? Talk to us. (We’re women . . . We get it),” states another
Of course, some of the stuffier shirts at the American Bar Association website have gotten their wing tips all winged out over the whole thing. More from the Buffalo News:

The main criticisms of the ads, which play up the firm’s feminine strengths, is that they perpetuate sexual stereotyping.

“Great, next they’ll sell us on female surgeons because they sew better,” reads a post on

A comment on the ABA Web site said the ads open the door to male lawyers touting masculine virtues and suggests some not-so-politically-correct tag lines.

“Men Work Harder and Don’t Take Time Off For Childbirth” or “How Many Women Play Pro Football . . . Women Are Weak,” are two of the proposed male-centric ads.

(Obviously, the genius who came up with those probably wouldn't know a good headline if it hit him in the bow tie.)

Another unique twist to the story is that the ads not were the brainchild of in-house marketing staff or an ad agency; the idea came from Jennifer Dowdell of Business First, a Buffalo-area business weekly:
“This wasn’t about ‘we’re women, hear us roar,’ ” Dowdell said. “But they are an all-women firm, which makes them unique.”
Like it or not, ABA scolds, if you're not unique, you're invisible. And if you're going to create safe, boring ads, you may as well not run them at all.

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