Ad Space – Who Says Divorce Can’t Be Fun?

You are now entering Ad Space, a realm of commercials, brought before us so we might examine how they work, and discuss why we both love and hate them so. So it is written …

The Products:
Divorce attorneys

The Promotions:

The Pitch:
Screw having a clean, civil divorce. Call us if you want to rake your miserable ex over the frickin’ coals!

After last week’s Ad Space on the Better Marriage Blanket, it’s possible some of you bought Better Marriage Blankets to give to your own spouses. If so, you will now be getting divorced, so these ads oughta help!

Divorce attorneys have an interesting challenge when it comes to advertising. Obviously, they want to encourage people to hire them, but they don’t want to come across like they’re encouraging people to get divorced. Trying to break up marriages, just to drum up business: that’d fall even lower than “ambulance chaser” in society’s dim view of the legal profession.

As such, most divorce attorney ads take a very solemn, respectful tone. They make it clear they’re talking to people who have already made the decision to get divorced, and that these legal professionals are ready to help them through this difficult time.

That’s what most do. But there’ll always be a few who can’t resist the temptation to be funny, and in remarkably poor taste. Naturally, those are the ones I decided to focus on.

I’ll admit, the “ball and chain” ad is simple enough, clever enough, and abstract enough, it’s actually not a bad ad. Much better than attorney Steve Miller claiming they’ll “get rid of that vermin you call a spouse”. And, beyond being in poor taste, specifically pitching themself to married people who “hate each other like poison and want to get out of the hellhole you call a marriage” … if someone has even slightly mixed feelings about their divorce, that extreme rhetoric seems like it’d turn them off of Attorney Miller more than anything.

But the crown jewels are the two ads for Michael Gallagher. One explicitly pitching itself at cheating, drunken scumbags, the other depicting a married couple who, presented with an attorney who could make their spouse miserable, race each other to get to them first. They’re so baldly, unabashedly cynical, I once again found myself having to make sure Michael Gallagher was a real attorney, and I wasn’t watching some sketch comedy by mistake.

I don’t see myself ever needing a divorce attorney, but if I did … I don’t think this is the approach that’d win me over.