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Bill Berg: The Golden Touch

by Renee Brank | January 28th, 2017

BillBergQ&AThroughout his long tenure with cj Advertising, Bill Berg has inspired some of the agency’s most powerful and influential creative concepts, including “No Fee Guarantee,” “Fear Spots,” “Crazy DIY,” and a new custom spot called “No Machines.” We had a chance to ask Mr. Berg how he manages to stay on the creative cutting edge.

SINCE SO MANY OF YOUR CONCEPTS HAVE BEEN REQUESTED BY SO MANY OF YOUR COLLEAGUES, WE’D LIKE TO KNOW WHERE YOU FIND CREATIVE INSPIRATION? I attend various legal seminars and marketing meetings around the country. I pay attention to what people are saying within and about their advertising. That’s where I got the idea for the No Fee Guarantee: I listened to other lawyers talking about contingency fees and was able to connect the dots to make an ad. Other ideas have just come to me in the course of my normal routine.

THE “CRAZY DIY” AND “FEAR SPOTS” CONTAIN CAUTIONARY MESSAGES FOR PEOPLE WHO CONTEMPLATE HANDLING THEIR OWN INJURY CLAIMS. HOW IMPORTANT IS THE EMOTION OF FEAR IN LAWYER ADVERTISING? Advertisers always play on emotions…fear, protecting family, or whatever. For example, on my way to work, I saw a billboard ad for a home alarm company that said: “When you go to work, so do the burglars. Yes, that ad was exploiting a negative emotion, but it was also communicating a truth that consumers need to hear. In lawyer advertising, accident victims need to know about the dangers of handling their claims themselves. When you go out to buy art or a rare import like a Persian rug, if you don’t know what you’re doing, you’ll get ripped off. That fear of being taken advantage of happens to me, and should happen to anyone. Don’t buy a painting, a Persian rug, or handle your own injury claim if you don’t know what you’re doing. Having an emotional component is essential to good advertising.

WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE ATTORNEY COMMERCIAL?
People with a lawyer get three times more money. It clearly communicates the benefit of getting a lawyer and the consequence of going it alone.

IF YOU WERE TO ADVISE A LAW FIRM STARTING OUT IN ADVERTISING, WHAT WOULD YOU SAY?
Quite simply, I’d say “You don’t know anything.” You think you do because you have an opinion. But in the market place, that opinion means nothing. My advice would be to hire an expert with experience in personal injury advertising. I’ve gotten lucky and come up with a good idea here and there, but the market place is very competitive. Once you’ve got your advertising team, my approach would be to start with simple messages that get your name and service offering out there. Then as your brand matures, you can fight larger marketing battles, whether it’s a political battle, a new case type, or going after your largest competitor. But until then, don’t go it alone.

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