It’s one of my favorite posts of the year – my recap of the Superbowl commercials! Recall, if you will, those Staples commercials with "It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year" playing as parents ride shopping carts gleefully through the store followed by glum kids, and you’ll have some idea of how excited I am over the superbowl of advertising. 

Before I jump into my absolute favorites (instead of just "The Good" this year, I’m splitting it into "The Great" and "The Good"), I wanted to make an observation – social media is a big part of any viewing experience for me, and the Superbowl was no different. While watching the game, I was also checking in on Twitter and Facebook, and it was interesting to gauge the reactions of the people I follow and engage with to the same commercials I was watching. 

Often, I would have one reaction to something, and then others would have a completely different reaction, and I’d find myself getting sucked into "groupthink" a little bit, and changing my mind. So I’ve worked hard to bring you the commercials that I like best, and offer my lessons for legal marketing. I heard several times last night that people were generally unhappy with last night’s crop of commercials, but I thought that while there were a few major duds – we’ll get to those in later posts – they were mostly very, very well done for a change. Now, on with the great! 

Pay with Lovin’

Wow, this commercial really got me in the feels, as they say. What a home run. Why does it work? 

  • McDonald’s takes their tag line "I’m Lovin’ It" and reinforces it by having their customers pay with "lovin.’"
  • It’s sweet – it creates a sense of family, community and love. 
  • There’s a call to action – because they tell you that they’re going to be doing this at their locations (supposedly), it encourages people to head to McDonalds and see if they might be able to get their meal in exchange for doing something "lovin.’"

What does this mean for legal? Plenty.

When I think of the above commercial in the context of lawyers and law firms, I think about what it is that we do for our communities – how do we create that sense of community, friendship and love? And when we do that, how do we then communicate it effectively, so that others know that we’re doing it? 

Similarly, are we reinforcing the marketing messages that we promote with the community work that we do? When you’re developing a message to deliver, it’s essential that that message represents who the firm is, and not just some idea that sounds nice in theory – clients and influencers can see right through that. For example, if your message is that "clients come first," but you take a week to return a client phone call, the inherent message is that "clients DON’T come first." 

And if your marketing messages are effectively representing who you are as a lawyer and a firm, what else can you do to communicate that? That’s what McDonalds does here – they want to be about love – which sounds silly from a fast food company, right? But I’ll bet there are tons of people heading there today because they feel a little bit friendlier about McDonalds after that commercial. How can you translate more friendliness and loyalty into your messages to bring clients and influencers to you instead of someone else? 

Coca Cola #MakeItHappy

This commercial struck a nerve with me, because I’ve been feeling this way about the internet for a while lately. It may be the relative anonymity that people have, or the feeling of protection we get from that pesky screen we’re always behind, but there seems to be so much more nastiness online lately. If I didn’t need to use social media to keep in touch with people, and professionally, I would consider taking a very long break from it. 

So Coca Cola nailed it for me with this ad – and that’s saying something, since I’m a Pepsi girl, through and through. The idea is that there’s so much negativity in the world, but when someone accidentally spills a coke on the internet, suddenly things get better. 

But Coke doesn’t stop there – they have two clear messages in this ad: 

  1. Coke makes everything happier. 
  2. We have the power to make things better (and shouldn’t we try?)

I really love the idea of their call to action – using the hashtag #makeitbetter to improve some of the nastiness that’s out there. I am not sure that it will achieve anything, but I love the hopefulness that it might. 

For legal, this says a couple of things to me – first, how do we make things better? Lawyers are, at heart, two things – problem solvers and problem preventers, right? So really, lawyers are like Coke -making everything better. Is there a more effective way that we can be communicating that? 

Secondly, as a friend of mine likes to say, are we being air fresheners, or air polluters? There is much too much nastiness out there these days, and I’ll admit there are days that I’d like to add to it myself, by snapping back at stupidity or engaging in an argument with someone I don’t agree with. But I don’t have to attend every argument I’m invited to, I’ve learned, and I’m much better off when I don’t – and guess what, so is my reputation and brand.

That’s not to say that I shouldn’t stick up for my principles and beliefs – but there is a way to discuss and converse with people that doesn’t demean or hurt them, and it is incumbent upon us all to make sure that we’re all treating each other with kindness and respect – it’s good for us, and it’s good for the profession. 

Dodge Wisdom

This is another amazing commercial that gives me chills and a few chuckles – it’s also a great ad for law firms. 

Why? Well, we all know that there are many law firms built on years of experience, and that it’s the combination of experience and innovation that makes firms and lawyers successful. I’d LOVE to see a law firm commercial, set of print ads, or online campaign that used their senior or founding partners to talk about their early days as partners or associates – it’s a great way to pay tribute to those who built the foundation of the firm. 

Another thing I love about this ad though is that it’s not all seriousness – there is some wonderful advice here, of course, and we all are reminded of the greatest generation and what they’ve taught us. I’m sure there were many of us thinking of our parents and grandparents fondly as the commercial started. 

But there was also a bit of irreverence and fun – just what you’d want out of a car (and your grandparents, for that matter). Dodge may be 100 years old, but they’ve used their history to build a fun and fast car that all ages will love. And who doesn’t love the idea of a 100-year-old grandparent speeding around in a sports car? 

It’s similarly important for law firms to remember where they come from, while simultaneously staying fresh and current – it’s a difficult balance to achieve, but Dodge shows us that it’s possible to do so successfully. So how can we make our messaging stand out? 

I’ll be bringing you more of my favorites (and the duds) this week and next. In the meantime, check out some of the other conversation surrounding legal marketing and Superbowl commercials with Heather Morse’s post and Nancy’s Myrland’s post

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Photo of Lindsay Griffiths Lindsay Griffiths

Lindsay Griffiths is the International Lawyers Network’s Executive Director. She is a dynamic, influential international executive and marketing thought leader with a passion for relationship development and authoring impactful content. Griffiths is a driven, strategic leader who implements creative initiatives to achieve the…

Lindsay Griffiths is the International Lawyers Network’s Executive Director. She is a dynamic, influential international executive and marketing thought leader with a passion for relationship development and authoring impactful content. Griffiths is a driven, strategic leader who implements creative initiatives to achieve the goals of a global professional services network. She manages all major aspects of the Network, including recruitment, member retention, and providing exceptional client service to an international membership base.

In her role as Executive Director, Griffiths manages a mix of international programs, engages a diverse global community, and develops an international membership base. She leads the development and successful implementation of major organizational initiatives, manages interpersonal relationships, and possesses executive presence with audiences of internal and external stakeholders. Griffiths excels at project management, organization, and planning, writes and speaks with influence and authority, and works independently while demonstrating flexibility in thinking, especially in challenging situations. She also adapts to diverse and dynamic environments with constant assessment and recalibration.

JD Supra Readers Choice Top Author 2019

In 2021, the ILN was honored as Global Law Firm Network of the Year by The Lawyer European Awards, and in 2016, 2017, and 2022, they were shortlisted as Global Law Firm Network of the Year. Since 2011, the Network has been listed as a Chambers & Partners Leading Law Firm Network, recently increasing this ranking to be included in the top two percent of law firm networks globally, as well as adding two regional rankings. She was awarded “Thought Leader of the Year” by the Legal Marketing Association’s New York chapter in 2014 for her substantive contributions to the industry and was included in Clio’s list of “34 People in Legal You Should Follow on Twitter.” She was also chosen for the American Bar Association Journal’s inaugural Web 100‘s Best Law Blogs, where judge Ivy Grey said “This blog is outstanding, thoughtful, and useful.” Ms. Griffiths was chosen as a Top Author by JD Supra in their 2019 Readers’ Choice Awards, for the level of engagement and visibility she attained with readers on the topic of marketing & business development. She has been the author of Zen & the Art of Legal Networking since February 2009.