Just getting it in under the wire – I wanted to take the opportunity to mark the occasion of Zen & the Art of Legal Networking’s 11th Anniversary. Eleven is a lot of years to be writing – I started this blog when I was only four years into my career with the ILN, when I was still finding my way in the legal industry, and it helped me to gain confidence, meet talented, smart people, and engage in thoughtful conversations around interesting topics that were and continue to shape our field. In that time, I’ve published 1,265 posts, a number of them guest posts from amazing contributors. We’ve looked at topics ranging from leadership, the future of the legal, networking, business development, relationship development and more to content marketing, social media (from its first baby steps to where it is now), and legal marketing. I look forward to seeing what the future brings, and hope to continue to bring you interesting content and topics for many years to come!

Over the years, on our anniversary, I’ve shared lessons I’ve learned, tips for blogging or networking, my favorite posts from the past, or the past year. An eleventh anniversary gift is typically supposed to be steel, which represents strength – it’s a good characteristic to have for this year, the year in which I take on the role of Executive Director of my network, navigate new waters, while continuing to stretch and grow, face the coronavirus while making global travel plans and hosting events, embracing new challenges and opportunities. Strength isn’t only internal though – it’s also about the network of support that you have around you, who act as a sounding board, build you up, pick you up, dust you off and throw you back out there when you need it the most. I’m very fortunate to have built one of the strongest support networks I know.
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Last week, I attended the LMANJ city group’s session on "Teachable Moments from Dewey," a presentation taking place in New York that we were remotely accessing. Our speakers were Bruce MacEwen, founder and President of Adam Smith, Esq and Sara Randazzo, a reporter with American Lawyer. 

While I’ve been watching the Dewey coverage with interest, I haven’t gotten as involved as some in the details, so it was a fascinating presentation. Bruce said that it’s been a topic of near obsession among his readers for the last few months – he started writing an analysis of this in March. 

As Bruce and Sara spoke, I took notes all over the handouts that we’d been given, so I’ll try to make sense of them here! 


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Now that we’ve covered "the good" of the Superbowl commercials, let’s talk about the bad and the ugly…and what can be learned from them.

We’ll start with one of the more controversial series of spots…

Groupon

Save the Whales

This is the less tacky of the spots, though giving the idea that although it’s nice to save the whales, it’s better to save money is still missing the humor mark.  But in the next spot…

Tibet

https://youtube.com/watch?v=vXGYK1eP_wo

Some people seemed to think this one was funny, while others were offended.  I tend not to be too thin-skinned, but I did agree that this was a mistake.  I was surprised that after the Kenneth Cole debacle this week that they decided to go through with these spots, even considering the financial cost of them.  

Now, Groupon did clarify the thought process behind the commercials with this post. And while I think it’s great that they suggest people donate money to the causes they were parodying, the spots were still a tasteless mistake.  The lesson here is that humor is something you have to be careful with – what one person might find funny, a lot of others might not.  You’ve got to know and understand your audience.

Secondarily, I’m not sure how well the ads actually reinforce Groupon’s product.  I’m a big fan of Groupon, but I’ve had a lot of trouble describing to friends and family what they’re all about.  I don’t think I’m the only one.  Their commercials could have broken that down a bit better.  I think they were a fail all around.  

For a great explanation that delves into this a bit further, check out Liz Strauss’ post "Groupon Super Bowl Ad: When Being Clever Offends and How to Win One for Tibet"


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Okay, I admit it. I love commercials.  

So much so that when I ordered the DVR service with my cable, I wasn’t sure I would fast forward through them.  (Don’t worry, I do)

Not all commercials, of course.  I just love the well done ones.  Like the Old Spice campaign – but that also combined my love of social media, so I’m a bit biased.

So for me, although I really enjoy football, the Superbowl is really about the commercials – they are the best of the best in advertising – at least, they’re supposed to be.  If you’re paying $3 million for a commercial spot, it should be the best work your company can get.  

What does this have to do with legal marketing? I’m not a huge fan of legal commercials, I must admit.  But I think there are solid marketing lessons to be learned from my favorites.  

And from the bad commercials – let’s be honest, there were more than a couple of those last night!

So without further ado….


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