Lawyer attack adThe Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) has decided that no action will be taken against the Law Society as a result of their Don’t Get Mugged campaign, which ran during July and August. The advert encouraged accident victims to seek legal representation from solicitors rather than rely on a third-party capture offer from an insurer. The ASA considered that it neither denigrated insurers nor was likely to distress victims of actual muggings.

What this campaign does appear to do is open the door to professionals attacking each other overtly in their advertising (what US presidential candidates call “going negative” with “attack ads”) in their desire to get more business from the public. Supermarkets have done this from time to time, but it is relatively rare elsewhere. I still remember the Dillons advert from the eighties aimed at its main competitor, Foyles, (Foyled again? Try Dillons) because of its rarity. However it looks like we may be about to see a lot more of it. Will this give rise to insurers and banks going at it with independent financial advisers even more loudly over the level of independence of the advice being received, or solicitors and licensed conveyancers escalating hostilities? Will this help informed decision making by anyone? I somehow doubt it.

It seems unlikely that solicitors will turn the same type of emotional manipulation on each other any time soon, as the Solicitors’ Regulatory Authority sets out as one of its principles that solicitors should “behave in a way that maintains the trust the public places in you and in the provision of legal services”. So that leaves the field clear for other professions to get in there. I would suggest something like this (add the name of your profession as appropriate):

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Let the games commence!

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