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Hammond Suddards ran a short-lived campaign last year through Saatchi & Saatchi's corporate division, Team Saatchi.
The agency was appointed after being approached by the firm in autumn 1999, with a brief to raise Hammonds' profile outside its native area of Leeds and promote its different practice skills. Team Saatchi created a branding campaign in national newspapers including the Financial Times during March and April, at a cost of some £300,000. But following Hammonds' merger with Edge Ellison, Team was dropped in favour of Edge Ellison's agency.
Hammond Suddards Edge refuses to comment on the campaign, nor on speculation that it was dropped because, although beautifully executed, it turned out to be incredibly expensive and brought few benefits.
But Michael Parker, Team Saatchi chief executive, says that in comparison with the marketing budget of most law firms, which is spread across the different practice areas, a brand campaign is good value for money, as it can help to differentiate a law firm.
"They said their problem was that they were a rapidly growing corporate law firm and were well-known in Leeds," he says. "They had a successful practice in London but believed they needed to raise their profile to be seen in the same breath as the top five."
First, the agency looked through the brochures of the top 20 law firms. While they were expensively put together and well-designed, none stood out as different from the others. A campaign was developed positioning Hammonds as "lawyers with attitude". Three executions were used in the national press, playing on Hammond's northern roots. One read: "We've done more mergers this year than tha's 'ad ciabatta butties." Other advertisements were created for specific practice areas and compiled into a brochure, which was sent to clients and staff. One advertisement promoting its alternative dispute resolution business read: "Should we sue our advertising agency?"