Exclusive: first look at QualitySolicitors’ attack ads on ‘faceless’ legal advice

QualitySolicitors (QS) this week launches its public attack on ‘faceless’ legal advice provided by new entrants to the legal market and national law firms, with a series of posters across 1,000 billboard and poster sites.

The campaign will also include national press advertising, online promotion and physical ‘stunt’ activity in a number of cities, together with a ‘Keep solicitors local’ initiative that will be open to non-QS firms as well.

Chief executive Craig Holt said that the extensive reach of the campaign, combined with its continued TV advertising, will “ensure we move closer and closer to our aim of being the first ‘household name’ legal brand”.

The campaign pack, which will be available from a dedicated website, will include a range of material for law firms – including non-QS firms – to promote local solicitors to the local community, including window stickers, posters and flyers.

Mr Holt explained: “The message of the TV advert is one focused on the emotional aspect of legal services, which frequently touch some of the most important times of our lives. This campaign builds on that by parodying in a light-hearted fashion the inappropriateness to the seriousness of many of those situations of the ‘faceless’ legal advice provided by many of the new entrants and ‘national’ law firms.”

He argued that the public are becoming “increasingly aware” of the widening range of options in the legal services market and “we feel the time is right to take steps to communicate to them the invaluable benefit of having the opportunity, even if they don’t take it up in a particular case or transaction, of face-to-face interaction with a local lawyer, whatever the legal issue”.

He drew on his experience as a family law barrister to highlight how face-to-face advice can make the difference between a successful and unsuccessful outcome: “Video-conferencing or telephone call might have its place but it is no substitute for the opportunity for that in-person interaction.”

Mr Holt continued: “Whilst QS will offer the public as many options as possible in how they engage for legal services – including online via our LegalZoom partnership – the option is always there to be able walk down into your local town/city centre and speak to the lawyer and that is vital to an effective legal service.”



    Readers Comments

  • J Harley says:

    Far from convincing – for me these taglines lack fizz and pop (too cliche). Of course ‘Attacks ad’ tactics have there place, but I think more effective in mature consumer markets of scale and repeat purchase. I’d have thought for the “emotional connection” they clearly want from this campaign, QS would’ve done better concentrating on the MERITS of their offering against these 900Ibs new entrants. Baiting these retail Godzillas with a blunt stick – heavyweights who actually know a thing or two about the needs of their everyday customer – is brave, but I don’t think especially smart.

    Perhaps they’re getting caught-up in all the excitement (Yah-Boo!) of the US Presidential campaign…

  • The underlying message is great: use an expert and go local. In this case it’s solicitors for legal services.

    But why oh why does it have to be done so poorly by such a crass ‘brand’.

    QUALITY solicitors. Really, are you? Are you so desperate to be perceived as quality that you have to use it in your name. If it was a supporting statement for the brand I would get it.

    Quality is achieved by offering great products and services. The accolade of quality is determined by the people buying your products and services.

    Where do you see the brands Quality Supermarket or Quality plumber or Quality bank?
    You don’t because they are not naive enough to think that people will fall for such childlike and unprofessional claims.

    Your current campaign is 50% well thought through. The underlying message is great. However, you have let youselves and UK law firms down i nthe delivery.

    Earn your title Quality Solicitors and produce some Quality advertising, deliver some Quality services and, in the fullness of time, maybe, just maybe, you will earn the right to your name.

  • I think what QualityMarketer is trying to say is that as a functional and descriptive brand, in the age of brand savvy, well informed and less trusting consumers, the ‘Quality’ in the QS brand is essentially a myth.

    Quality remains a myth and lacks credibility until it has been directly experienced. The added problem is that as a ‘service brand’, the service is intangible and variable and even less likely for the brand to resonate pre-delivery. Personally I wouldn’t trust the brand ‘Daves Quality Motors’ nor ‘High Street Quality Meats’.

    It’s a fabrication. A myth.

    My issue with the advertising is that essentially the QS brand is a functional brand, that via the TV, plays the aspirational and symbolic appeal. Brands that try to play both the functional and symbolic end up confusing the consumer who then find it difficult to relate to either appeal. It’s really poorly thought out.

    The posters above are a complete nonsense. Again, consumers see the symbolic appeals of the TV adverts and then see aggressive, market politicalised posters which hardly integrate truly with one another or disproves the ‘quality’ myth.

    It’s a game of fundamentals. A ‘marketing network’ run by a non-marketer with zero experience of marketing a high street law firm.

  • James Anderson says:

    It is very ‘vogue’ to try and be critical of QualitySolicitors. I, however, have to say that I think their advertising is excellent. The TV campaign is beautiful and emotional. This poster campaign – whilst a little more aggressive than I would have expected – adds some rationality to the proposition, with reference to Saturday Opening etc. Contrary to the post above, most successful brands combine an early, emotional appeal with subsequent functionality/rationality. You need to ‘feel’ something about the brand but then also be given rational reasons to justify your choice. I think the campaign will be very successful for them and, unlike many, wish them well.

  • To clarify, I like the campaign.

    Had it been done by a reputable and established brand I think it would be very successful for them.

    Sadly though I think it will be less successful for QS because it has been ‘done’ by QS. They are still trying to establish themselves and their place in the legal market place. This is not the right strategy for QS. They need to drive awareness of their brand and ‘win’ clients from existing legal services providers, not new entrants that haven’t yet got a following.

    It will however help the legal community as the message is strong (albeit delivered in a crass way):
    Don’t trust legal services to anyone other than a solicitor.

    I must go, I can hear the phones ringing.
    Thank you QS!

  • James, qualify your sentiments regarding ‘most successful brands’ ? Which ones? Provide an example of starting off with aspirational appeals but then following with functional and utilitarian adverts?

    It’s not ‘in-vogue’ at all to critique QS. QS occupy a market position that is setting a number of interesting marketing precedents. Do you feel that it’s wrong to show interest and provide constructive criticism?

  • Marty Shaw says:

    I have been following the liberalization of the UK market from here in the States and adverts like this are common place for attorneys.

    I wonder how much the PE people are willing to keep funding their efforts in this market.

    They surely cannot be even breaking even at the moment and with all the other people coming in like RocketLawyer and LegalZoom from over here there is going to be a fight for market share which will end with someone going bang, and my instinct says it will be QS.

  • David says:

    I think the critics amongst you have missed the point somewhat. QS don’t care if you like their brand or their adverts, because that is not what advertising is designed to do. The idea is to make the name so commonplace that people think of it first, even if it is just because they remember “that irritating advert”. The fact that you have posted comments means that it is working; the name is out there and people have noticed. Job done. I don’t know who any of you work for but unless you have billboards, a national advertising campaign, and debates on an independent legal news website, then you are already no longer competitive. Criticise it all you want but the harsh reality is that some of your firms will survive just as well as they always have, and some of you will be filling in a Co-Op job application form and scanning the Bristol pages of RightMove within two years.

  • James Hunt says:

    Graham, James

    Great marketing to fearful High Street solicitors desperate for leadership. As to the consumer just remember Specsavers: started by from one shop in Bristol where the “quality” offering and business model was developed.

    Truly great businesses are rarely started by entrepreneurs but by passionate technicians (like Dame Mary Perkins).

    It will all end in tears for the solicitors if not the entrepreneur.

  • In other words by encouraging people to visit solicitors on site means they can charge more for their time. If they have to sit and listen for a couple of hours…at £100 plus per hour the longer it can be dragged out the better… plus costs if they actually have to do any work…

  • All very intriguing stuff. As ever these posts spark debate amongst contributors.
    I agree with the comment that they don’t care whether people like their marketing, usually the most memorable ads are the ones that annoy us in some fashion. We hate them, but we remember them. HOWEVER, how often do you actually go and buy from that annoying organisation whose advert you hated? Not very often, if at all.
    The best ads are the clever ones, they can be serious / funny, they can have soulful music / rock / no music; the key thing is they resonate with their TARGET audience.
    QS are appealing to the low end of the legal services market place with their ads. They will attract business and win clients.
    The good news for most of the more established firms that are targeting a ‘higher’ end client is that QS will not take clients from you. They simply haven’t got the quality in their brand.

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