Southern Lawyer Advertises In 3D

Who says all the breakthrough ideas come from Madison Avenue? Consider the creative gambit out of Stanville, Kentucky, population 500, from an enterprising lawyer.

Having recently purchased a 3D TV, attorney Eric C. Conn says watching a series of films in the third dimension had him entranced. "It just overwhelmed me," he says.

Advertisers are debating the value of producing spots in 3D. Is it worth the cost, considering only a handful of outlets can run the ads, and so few people have the 3D sets? Some, such as Anheuser-Busch and Disney, believe it makes sense to stay ahead of the curve.

The engaging and flamboyant Conn wants to market his passion. "Law pays the bills, but marketing is my hobby," he says. For him, 3D TV is "the wave of the future ... when you see good quality TV, you don't want to go back," he says.

His marketing tilt has led him to advertise aplenty for his firm, which helps people obtain benefits for disabilities and other struggles. His four-lawyer operation which started in a storage trailer in Stanville, recently opened a second office in Ashland, Kentucky.

Conn estimates the firm will spend $600,000 on advertising in 2010, about 8% of revenue. Billboards appear to have brought the best ROI. Even on the fairly staid medium, he's tried to innovate with arresting yellow boards, spending $20,000 on mannequins of himself to pop on top of them.

"They created more talk, they added another dimension to it," he says in his Appalachian-style Southern accent.

Conn has run ample radio ads, but only dabbled in TV with spots on small broadcast stations, such as the CBS affiliate in Hazard, Kentucky., and on local cable run by Suddenlink. He says the expense hasn't been in line with the response rate.

Yet his new-found appreciation for 3D TV has him trying it out as a promo. He's running a 60-second spot that's blurry, but quickly tells viewers why. "Come with Eric C. Conn to the future -- 3D it's here," the voiceover says. Produced by a local agency, the ad then features Conn as an animated superhero wearing 3D glasses.

Unlike the 3D ads for Budweiser that require the pricey glasses from Sony, Conn's spot calls on the 3D viewing of yesteryear. The ad concludes with a pitch to call an 800 number to receive a kit with the old-school glasses, which would allow them to view the ads in pristine form.

The ads are not aimed at potential adult clients, but kids who might draw their parents' attention to the spot. "When you've got kids involved, parents get involved," he says. The media plan includes Nickelodeon on local cable.

So far, the tactic has yielded 80 calls, which Conn admits has been unimpressive. One problem: the part of the ad asking people to call for the glasses is a bit hard to understand.

Still, if the direct-response aspect of the spot doesn't meet expectations, he hopes for some buzz. In a roll-the-dice approach, he says the "main thing is to have fun."

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