An advert in a free paper has to work pretty hard to make me look twice. And it can’t just be me that has just a quick flick through the Evening Standard before leaving it behind for the next commuter with their mind on other things. So when I found that my attention had been effectively caught, by a law firm no less, I was grudgingly impressed.
Slater & Gordon’s advert for their divorce law services reads:
We’ve seen a trend over the last few years of increasingly aggressive advertising campaigns as companies bid to capture the market share of people’s reduced disposable income. Messages which may previously have been implied by an advertisement are now usually explicitly stated. Similarly, this brash approach marks a decisive change from the subtle advertising usually favoured for potentially sensitive situations such as handling the legal intricacies of a divorce.
Does it work?
I think this advert makes a set of very confident assumptions. First of all, the degree of self-assurance here is impressive. The advert makes the automatic assumption that Slater & Gordon will be first choice for the reader’s hypothetical ex as well as the undoubted best option for both parties.
The advert also relies on an assumed feeling of animosity between the hypothetical soon-to-be divorced couple. The competitive nature of ‘getting in there’ before your ex is not going to feature in the mindset of someone anticipating an amicable split.
Based on these assumptions, the advert is likely to strike a chord with a fairly narrow set of readers. However, because it is so cocky, those readers are far more likely to notice this call to arms than a sensitive nudge in Slater & Gordon’s direction. It’s likely that some people who see this advert will be irritated, alienated or even offended by what they see. But in my opinion many more will agree with the law firm’s logic and pick up the phone.
When I first saw this advert I confess I didn’t like it at all. But on reflection I have to say that I admire the direct approach they have taken here. It will be very interesting to see how successful this campaign is. They’ve taken a risk by putting something out there that could provoke a negative reaction in their potential clients. It will be telling to see if their risk pays off.