Brown & Crouppen goes all-in with BCTV
Brown & Crouppen goes all-in with BCTV
What breakfast cereals can you eat mixed together?
Is Macaulay Culkin’s character in the movie “Home Alone” a sociopathic criminal?
Why is black licorice a thing?
Ed Herman, co-managing partner at Brown & Crouppen in St. Louis, tackles these tough issues and many more — sometimes wearing a bathrobe — in the firm’s new online video series, “Ed Versus.”
That series is just one in a suite of advertising videos that Brown & Crouppen has released under the umbrella title, “BCTV.” Produced by Coolfire Studios, a full-service entertainment-production company in St. Louis, the video ads are designed for Facebook and YouTube. They’re offbeat, slickly edited — and viral.
Viewership keeps climbing, Herman said, but from the launch last November to the morning of Feb. 4, the videos had collectively garnered on those two platforms 4.6 million views, with more than half of those for “Ed Versus.” (Future installments of that show, he said, will include Ed v. Microwaves, Ed v. Naps and Ed v. Ice Cream.)
There are other offerings on BCTV, too, such as the animated “Terry’s Safety Squad” — the most expensive to produce, according to Herman — and “Win the Day,” an inspirational reality series hosted by former St. Louis radio fixture Tammie Holland.
Currently being filmed: “Three Lawyers Eating Sandwiches,” starring firm founder Terry Crouppen, his son and firm co-managing partner Andy Crouppen, and Herman. The latter calculates that during his 18-or-so years at the firm, the three of them have broken bread (while busting each others’ chops) approximately 2,000 times, so the chemistry is evident.
“People for years have said when they hear us eating together, it’s like an episode of ‘Seinfeld,’” Herman said. “In Episode 1, we got into a debate on what constitutes a sandwich.”
But will these quirky ads work?
Burton Kelso, a tech expert at Integral Computing Consultants in Kansas City, said the videos strike just the right tone for social media platforms: The overt message is not about the firm’s competence, but rather, how engaging, funny and relatable the individual attorneys are.
“It will get stuck in your head and create stronger relationships,” Kelso said. “People think attorneys are above them, but when you humanize attorneys in the video, it helps people warm up to you.”
The lesson for other law firms, according to Kelso: “You’ve just got to get started and make videos.” For solo and small-firm practitioners, he also emphasized that the videos needn’t be polished — some of the most popular YouTube channels are fed entirely by videos captured by cell phones. It just has to be engaging in a way that fits the attorneys’ brand.
Herman said Brown & Crouppen still uses billboards and runs traditional television ads — for example, it recently ran a TV spot after the Super Bowl halftime show mocking the locally reviled owner of the former St. Louis Rams, Stan Kroenke (see related story) — but potential customers under 40 are abandoning television for online platforms.
“You have to meet the people where they are,” Herman said, adding that the vast majority of those who see the ads don’t need a lawyer in the moment, but he wants them to think of Brown & Crouppen as soon as they do.
The goal is never to make the firm look silly or foolish, Herman said. The subtle message of his “Ed Versus” series, for example, is to reveal a sharp and analytical mind and an attention to detail — illustrated when he delivers his passionate closing argument against Macaulay Culkin’s character in “Home Alone.”
“If I’m going this hard after a 9-year-old,” Herman said in an interview, “you can imagine what I’d do in your case.”
He added that right now, the metric of success is not how many extra cases the firm is signing.
“It’s, ‘Are we building a relationship with the community, are we building a dialogue, are they enjoying it?’”
Many are, it appears. One online commenter named Courtney wrote on Facebook: “I see their billboards all the time. Why waste the money when this is what won me over?”