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YouLaw: Truck Accident Reenactment Jumps the Shark

By Gerry Oginski | Monday, January 11, 2010

Watch the Video

TechnoScore: 1.0
1 = Lowest Possible Score; 5 = Highest Possible Score

Steve Gordon of Gordon and Elias, Arizona

How would you feel watching a video in which you see a nice family having a meal together, leaving in a car, and suffering a catastrophic car accident, complete with screams, glass shattering, ambulance lights and siren, heart beat audio in the background, scenes of the emergency room, and even a trip to the lawyer's office? That's what you see in this truck accident reenactment by Gordon & Elias.

Contrived and overdone, this video tries to play on your emotions complete with a badly bruised child, a trip by the widow to the cemetery to lay a single flower on her husband's tombstone, the widow at home overwhelmed by her bills, etc. When she poignantly touches her deceased husband's photo, I can't take it anymore. Get me some tissues. I need to blow my nose. There's another two minutes to go. Ugh.

Steven Gordon keeps interrupting my tearful thoughts about this family's tragedy. I want to hear more about this horrific injury and what will happen to the terrible trucker who presumably caused their life-altering tragedy.

The video also has courtroom scenes, again presumably a re-enactment. Using the same widow (actor) on the witness stand, Steven Gordon standing in front of a jury with an exhibit of an accident scene, a judge looking concerned for the welfare of the widow, and even a scene of the widow sitting at counsel's table thanking Gordon presumably after a verdict in her favor.

"We wish you had not gone through what you went through, but you have," says Gordon. I'll say it again! Give me a break. This video is too long and too contrived.

Tip #1: Don't Drive Away Prospective Clients

In the famous British video about the risks of texting while driving, you see and hear screams, glass shattering, and steel crunching. That was clearly the most horrific video I'd ever seen. That video went viral and had a significant educational message best described visually. That's simply not the case here.

If you really want to scare viewers, why not educate them about how difficult it will be to prove damages in their case? Why not explain to them that society's values are changing, which may make it difficult to obtain proper compensation for their injuries?

Bottom line: Don't drive away prospective clients with an expensive and unnecessary reenactment.

Tip #2: Use Real Case Examples

Instead of recreating every sympathetic aspect of a tragedy, why not instead use specific examples of cases you've handled and how you've helped those victims? Get their family members on video to explain what they went through instead of paid actors. It's much more believable and palatable.

Tip #3: Are You Providing Useful Information?

You are ultimately responsible for the content in your own video regardless of who produces your video. If you have failed to provide any useful content, ditch the video and start over. No one wants to watch a soap opera about a fictional case.

Till next time, see on video!

The Back Bench

Certified Family Law Specialist and online video producer Kelly Chang Rickert says: "This was an excellent YouTube video. It really pitches the firm and gives you a warm feeling that lawyers can be your friends, even in an ambulance-chasing environment. Steve Gordon does a great job narrating, and his friendly demeanor is easy to follow."

TechnoLawyer publisher and online video producer Neil Squillante says: "I've seen more frightening car accidents in PG movies so the video does not need the warning at the outset. In fact, the video would benefit from an editor to shorten its overall length. Still, by recreating a car accident, Gordon & Elias has differentiated its video from other law firm videos. Only time will tell if this approach can succeed."

About YouLaw
YouTube offers law firms a free advertising platform with tens of millions of potential clients. But a poor video can hurt more than help. In this column, lawyer and online video expert Gerry Oginski reviews and rates the latest law firm videos. A panel of fellow experts (The Back Bench) add to Gerry's reviews with pithy remarks. We link to each new YouLaw column and all other noteworthy law firm marketing articles in our weekly BlawgWorld newsletter, which is free. Please subscribe now.

About Gerry Oginski
New York trial lawyer Gerry Oginski has created more than 230 informational online videos for his medical malpractice and personal injury practice. Realizing that most video producers don't have a deep understanding of the practice of law and what potential clients look for, Gerry launched The Lawyers' Video Studio, which provides free tutorials and video production services. If you need help producing a video, please contact Gerry now.

Contact Gerry:
T: (516) 487-8207

Topics: Law Firm Marketing/Publications/Web Sites | Videos | YouLaw
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