Tim Tebowing for Clients Publicity

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Did you catch this one? As reported by Central Florida News 13:

You’ve seen him on commercials saying he’s “For the People.” Now, Orlando attorney John Morgan is “For Tim Tebow.”

Morgan’s law firm Morgan and Morgan released an ad on the firm’s official YouTube account. In it, Morgan makes a case for the Jacksonville Jaguars to sign the former Denver Broncos and New York Jets quarterback.

The ad will reportedly play on TV and radio in the Jacksonville area.

So, why is Morgan doing all of this?

John Morgan’s son says they’re not just big fans, they love the guy.

Here’s the actual ad:

Morgan has also offered to:

To be clear, I don’t know anyone at Morgan & Morgan. And I have no reason to doubt that they’re in love with Tim Tebow. But if you believe that their “For Tim Tebow” campaign was done solely out of love, then I suggest that you’re naive.

I’m not posting this to persuade you to dump millions into television advertising. Instead, I’m curious what Lawyerist readers think about advertising like this.

In terms of solely generating publicity, there’s little question that this campaign was brilliant. From a quick Google search, you can see that the story was picked up by a variety of local news stations, SB Nation, DeadSpin and even ESPN. In fact, I found out about this from ESPN’s First Take.

So, in terms of generating publicity, Morgan has people across the country talking about him and his firm both online and offline.

But does this “buzz” have value? And if it does, does the value outweigh the costs and risks?

Doesn’t it sort of feel like:

“I don’t care what they say about me as long as they spell my name right.” (P.T. Barnum) And, “There is only one thing worse than being talked about and that is NOT being talked about.” (Oscar Wilde) And finally, “There’s no such thing as bad publicity except your own obituary.” (Brendan Behan)

Attention for attention’s sake?

And speaking about online, it went viral. Plus, if you’re into the “SEO thing,” they’re sending a lot of “popularity signals” to search engines including links, mentions, social shares, etc, from a variety of authoritative sources. Which are helping to propel him to the top of a variety of search results for both branded and unbranded search queries.

Perhaps you find stunts like this tacky. Maybe even offensive. If so, I’d like to hear why. After all, I think we can agree that there are far-more tacky, tasteless and offensive attorney advertising campaigns. But there doesn’t seem to be anything to suggest that this violates attorney advertising regulation. From what I can tell, the only “communications about a lawyer’s services” that are contained in the ad are the firm’s name, slogan, website and phone number. Seems to pass muster even under Florida’s restrictive attorney advertising rules.

But do you think it contributes to the race to the bottom?

Of course, there are a variety of potential risks in publicly endorsing anyone, especially someone like Tim Tebow, who some might associate with a particular set of religious values, political views, etc. And then there’s the risk of disenfranchising potential clients that simply think Tebow would be bad for the Jaguars.

My guess is that most of you will think that generating this kind of publicity is largely a waste of time and money. After all, your clients don’t find you like this. But for the plaintiffs attorneys and high-volume practice folks, what do you think? Have you ever tried generating publicity like this? Did it “work?”

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  • Anonymous

    Doesn’t it most likely violate the Florida Right of Publicity?

    No person shall publish, print, display or otherwise publicly use for purposes of trade or for any commercial or advertising purpose the name, portrait, photograph, or other likeness of any natural person without the express written or oral consent to such use given by:
    (a) Such person; or
    (b) Any other person, firm or corporation authorized in writing by such person to license the commercial use of her or his name or likeness;

    Fla. Stat. sec. 540.08

  • Well, the most important thing you failed to consider when writing this is that Morgan is a double UF grad, a Bull Gator Booster, and one of the wealthiest Gator alumni out there. Second, both his sons and his wife are double UF grads. Third, he puts out all kinds of PSAs that are more PR ads than lawyer ads (he has a pet adoption one) and a Veterans one. Fourth, nobody in the Florida Bar cares that he put out this ad and nobody would ever find him in violation. Fifth, if you ain’t a Gator, your’e Gator Bait! Go Gators!