While driving in Gulf Shores decades ago on a golf trip with my brother and his coal miner friends, I noticed a billboard. A sleazy looking guy was grinning and pointing at a slogan that made his number easy to remember. 1-800 DIVORCE.
My first thought was Tammy Wynette, which was quickly followed by how embarrassing this was to lawyers everywhere and how soon this idea would be ridiculed out of a noble and honored profession. I snapped a photo and later mailed it to several friends who were practicing attorneys.
If you sell advertising for television stations, as my daughter-in-law does, or watch much daytime TV, you know my beliefs about lawyers’ desire for credibility were pitifully naive. Legal advertising has taken over the afternoon airwaves. The easy to remember phone number is an extremely popular selling point. There is a local attorney using all nines as his number— another prefers all twos.
The primary focus seems to be on money, rather than justice and ease of process. We have a Lauren Boebert lookalike promising to “Git” clients untold riches and a few offering satisfied customers’ testimonials explaining how wealthy they’d become by using a particular attorney. One commercial is filled with respect and solemnity as if advertising a funeral home. None I’ve seen have mentioned justice or how the law firm will get the most lucrative chunk from the settlement.
I’ve never encountered an attorney directly on social media, although politicians, most of them attorneys, do an awful lot of internet pollution. Most of it is as classy, responsible, and honest as 1-800- DIVORCE. This gives the impression that lawyers, like so many other professional people, have succumbed to the greed and power epidemic so prevalent in this most recent century.
The only saving grace for attorneys is the example provided by drug companies. Big Pharma has set the sleaze bar so low in drug advertising that no one can possibly stoop to its level. Big Pharma serves the same purpose as Mississippi— an example every other state can point to no matter how morally low their state sinks.
I’m pretty sure the first drug to get TV advertising was that little blue pill that men everywhere were, and still are, willing to pay most anything to buy. Since then, we’ve seen creative skits where older Americans talk to their neighbor about some non deadly disease and try to get the would be patients to “ask their doctor about this.” I’ve never seen these ads address cancer, hypertension, or Alzheimer’s. In most cases, I have to view the ad several times to even know what “this” is. Vague symptoms followed by miraculous claims of medical success, followed still by a string of possible side effects that might be harmful or may include death.
I know we’re all supposed to be proactive in our individual health but shouldn’t our personal doctor have some idea about new medications hitting the market? Shouldn’t he be aware of recently discovered products while planning for your next physical? And why are most of these new miracle cures for something that isn’t likely to kill anyone.
Could it have anything to do with profit margin?