Vancouver Legal Marketing Joins the Big Leagues

Jeremy Hessing-Lewis

The Big Leagues

On this morning’s commute, I encountered a significant development in the world of Canadian legal marketing.  The large digital billboard outside of BC Place is currently carrying an attention-grabbing ad for MacLean Personal Injury Law. While personal injury billboards are near-ubiquitous throughout the US and have been appearing increasingly frequently on major highways entering Vancouver, this billboard is significant for a few reasons:

  • The Copy: “It’s not about money. It’s about justice. Then money.” Whether or not you think this is brilliant or offensive, it introduces a completely new tone into the Vancouver market. I suspect that it will start raising some larger questions within the profession. It certainly brings us back around to the legal marketing rules. My thinking is that if firms start taking these risks in differentiating themselves, lawyers will ultimately get the type of clients that they deserve (e.g. aggressive vs. greedy vs. conciliatory). Accordingly, law firms should be left to their own tactics so long as it does not bring the administration of justice into disrepute.
  • The Cost:  Lorne MacLean used Fishman Marketing for this personal injury law campaign. There is a website which matches the billboard. While I won’t speculate on Fishman’s costs, they are almost certainly higher than just about anything in the Canadian market. With an ad buy this prominent, MacLean would be looking at a very serious investment. When you see that the space is shared by companies like Telus, you start to get a sense of the price range.

Personal Injury Billboard @ BC Place

Personal Injury Marketing Economics

An investment of this type requires either a very large firm or a practice area where these costs can be justified based on predictable economics.  Personal injury law offers a relatively high-volume, high-return practice where these calculations start to make sense. The numbers would break down something like this:

#Q thousand people will see the ad, which will generate #R visitors to the website, #S calls to the firm and ultimately #T new clients. Of those, #U will settle and #V will go to trial with an average settlement of $W. On a contingency basis, these settlements will generate $V income for the firm. Deducting the firm’s overhead provides the net profit.

Return on Investment = Net Profit / Marketing Investment x 100.

I can only imagine that MacLean has done these calculations and that the numbers look good.  MacLean is certainly no amateur when it comes to legal marketing. He is perhaps best known for his practice at MacLean Family Law Group.  Between Fishman’s creative used in the campaigns and visibility across platforms, from print and Google Display campaigns, to his SEO efforts with online reviews, MacLean’s firms are about as visible as they get in these parts. He’s been doing this for a while and it seems to ad up.

While our clients tend to have a very different style, I like to see MacLean pushing the envelope and offering more opportunities for our clients to differentiate themselves.


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