The Co-operative Legal Services has launched its first advertising campaign. It depicts customers as children, overwhelmed by legal jargon. A voiceover says: “We know how legal matters can make you feel…”
The campaign has been designed to highlight the company’s sensitive approach, and its commitment to free advice, fixed fees and plain English.
The television advert was created by the Leo Burnett agency, which boasts clients including Coca Cola, McDonalds and Wrigleys. Its director Jamie Rafn, a former barrister, worked on a series of short films before making commercials for brands such as T-Mobile, Volvo and Johnnie Walker.
Ian Mackie, Director of Marketing for CLS, said: “The TV advert aims to highlight our empathy with customers’ fears about dealing with legal matters.
“The radio ads concentrate on how we help people going through legal issues with expert, honest advice and clear pricing.” The radio ads feature real-life consumer stories.
CLS has also launched a YouTube channel hosting 17 basic advice videos designed to help viewers resolve their issue on their own or point them towards The Co-op’s free advice line, or if necessary a solicitor.
Ian Mackie said: “Social media is playing a growing part in people’s everyday lives. It provides a route to research and interact, seek support and advice from experts.
“We want to provide the customer with the ability to access law in this way and have developed a YouTube channel which provides easy to understand ‘how to’ guides for key areas of law. This supports the brand campaign and our aim to make the law accessible and unintimidating.”
When it set up in 2006, CLS was limited to personal injury claims, will writing, probate and estate administration and employment law. In September 2012 it launched a family law division.
“Our offer has never been more relevant, particularly with the changes to legal aid and the questions this raises about access to justice,” said Mr Mackie. Legal Aid is no longer available for couples who divorce in England and Wales, except where domestic violence or a child protection risk is identified. Around 200,000 individuals a year will now pay their own legal and court costs in family law cases involving separation and divorce, child custody or financial issues.
CLS, which is part of the Co-operative Group, is the first big brand to take advantage of the Legal Services Act, which enables it to offer services which had previously only been available from a firm of solicitors. Following in its footsteps are the AA, Saga, Which? and Halifax, among others.
The act allows companies like CLS start their own practices by recruiting lawyers or buying existing law firms, rather than having to outsource activities reserved for law firms or separate them financially as per previous regulations.
Ian Mackie sees this as an opportunity to establish the Co-operative as a market leader. “The campaign is designed to promote CLS as a compelling alternative to current legal services providers,” he says. “To do this we need to tell people that we’re here and what we can provide.”