Last year, Kony 2012, Red Bull’s “Stratos” and “Angry Birds Space” all cracked 100 million views over the course of the year, the first time any branded video has done that in a year.

Viral marketing has become a popular buzzword and strategy for a variety of businesses. After all, what business owner doesn’t like the idea of getting their message out with little time, a minimal budget and achieving pandemic reach.

But can law firms benefit from viral marketing strategies?

Viral marketing can take any form. Even blog posts can “go viral.” But for this post, let’s examine some viral video legal marketing examples:

(238,937 views at time of posting)

Based on my quick research for this post, lawyer, patriot, champion Adam Reposa takes the number one spot (if you’ve got a lawyer video with more views, please post in the comments).

I suspect that many of us would agree that not all publicity is good publicity and that gaining attention for attention’s sake can come with negative consequences.

Of course, what impact this publicity has had on his ability to attract the clients he wants, as well as, his professional reputation (especially among other lawyers) isn’t revealed by views, likes and dislikes on YouTube. Perhaps Adam would be willing to share?

I thought these videos by Trolman, Glaser & Lichtman were pretty creative:

(141,019 views at time of posting)

(71,795 views at time of posting)

Of course, it helps to get written up by The New York Times.

And who hasn’t seen “The Hammer” (okay his paid spokesperson) online:

(60,849 views at time of posting)

And while you don’t like it, and I don’t like it, perhaps it works. Assuming you believe that The Hammer wrote it:

As the infamous “Lowell the hammer Stanley”,I’m disappointed that you don’t approve.But please understand that what I do is not a”poorly crafted marketing campaign” but carefully planned and quite successful. Tacky yes, Tasteless yes, but then I’m not trying to appeal to sophisticates like yourself. I’m trying to reach the working man who is comfortable with television and has no problem with an aggressive approach. I care about my clients and fight hard for them, and I tell them so in no uncertain terms. Perhaps you might like to know something about me before condemning what I do.

And of course, what law firm doesn’t need a Harlem shake video:

(3,425 views at time of posting)

(2,477 views at time of posting)

(1,002 views at time of posting)

So, I think the answer to the question of whether legal video marketing can go viral is yes. However, perhaps the better question is whether you should employ video marketing strategies into marketing your firm. And of course, the answer to that question is: it depends.

Should Your Legal Marketing Be Viral?

Just like other forms of legal marketing, whether or not viral video marketing strategies will “work” for your law firm depends on a variety of factors. Here are some things to think about:

  • Who are the visitors you are trying to attract? – Are you playing a volume game? How are the people you are trying to attract likely to respond to a viral marketing campaign?
  • What are you trying to get your visitors/viewers to do? – Merely remember you? Sign-up to download something or receive future emails? Call you? If your goal is to “go viral,” you might find something of these goals contradict one another. For example, you might be able to get your exceptional kitten meme to go viral, but not be associated with you or your firm at all.
  • How will you balance the often competing goals of virulence with professionalism and your ethical obligations? – I would suggest that your priorities should be reputation and ethics first, virulence second. Of course, one lawyer’s professional floor is another’s ceiling. If you use professional and boring interchangeably, you might as well forget about virulence altogether.
  • How will you measure success? – Even if you can pull-off a marketing campaign that goes viral, is ethical and positively impacts your professional reputation, how will you define and measure success? Video views? Visitors? Phone calls? New clients? How will you connect the dots to realize a return on your investment?

If you’ve ever attempted a viral marketing campaign, you know that the overwhelming majority of your attempts will never go viral. And of those that do, most won’t attract the type of attention that you intended. And of those that go viral and attract productive attention, you still need to define and measure success. How many people do you think watched one of the above videos and immediately called and hired the firm?

Whether it’s writing, imagery or video, if you’re relying on a viral marketing campaign to “turn things around” for you, you’re better off heading to a casino.

What viral marketing campaigns (legal or not) have resonated with you?