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Friday, 2 October 2009

Tesco Medicine - another gem from the buffoon's treasury

In June and July I aged ten years and my poor editor Stephanie’s hair went white as I wrote a 40,000 word report on direct marketing for the legal profession.

One of my oldest, best friends is an eminent lawyer. He warned me.

"1. Solicitors do not understand marketing.
2. They believe they understand.
3. It is difficult to convince them of anything to the contrary."

Naturally, they HATE the idea of direct marketing - all those nasty, cheap letters, m'lud. They don’t realise the internet is direct marketing.

Relax everyone ... I'm not trying to sell you the report … but I learnt that hardly any of them measure what they get for their money. This is no surprise as it's mostly still done the old-fashioned way by judicious pressings of the flesh.

I tried to explain the folly of not measuring with an analogy.

A client comes to see you on an important matter

After listening and taking notes you say:

“You are right to have consulted us. It is not too much to say that your future depends on whether you win or lose..

I’m afraid a lot of work will be involved. We are not cheap, so will you please give me a cheque for £10,000 before we start.

By the way, there is one small problem. When the case ends we will have no idea whether we have won or lost.”

How would that client feel? Yet that is the basis on which nearly all legal marketing (and most advertising) operates.

Lawyers should start getting smarter, fast, because of what is dubbed Tesco Law - today almost anyone can get into the game. All this came to mind when Paul Truscott sent me the following.

One day, leaning on the bar, Jack says to Mike "My elbow hurts like hell. I'd better see a Doctor."

"Listen, don't waste your time," Mike replies. "There's a new diagnostic computer at Tesco. Just give it a urine sample and the computer will tell you what's wrong, and what to do about it. It takes ten seconds and only costs five quid - a lot quicker and better than a doctor and you get Tesco Club card points as well".

So Jack collects a urine sample in a small jar and takes it to Tesco.

He deposits five pounds and the computer lights up and asks for the urine sample. He pours the sample into the slot and waits. Ten seconds later, the computer ejects a printout: "You have tennis elbow. Soak your arm in warm water and avoid heavy activity. It will improve in two weeks".

That evening while thinking how amazing this new technology was, Jack began to
wonder if the computer could be fooled. He mixed some tap water, a stool sample from his dog, urine samples from his wife and daughter and the cat, and masturbated into the mixture for good measure.

Then off he hurried to Tesco, eager to see what would happen.

He stuck in his fiver, poured in his concoction, and awaited the results.

The computer printed the following:

i) Your tap water is too hard. Get a water softener.
ii) Your cat's having kittens. Get a vet
iii) Your dog has ringworm. Bathe him with anti-fungal shampoo.
iv) Your daughter has a cocaine habit. Get her into rehab.
v) Your wife is pregnant. Twins. They aren't yours. Get a lawyer.
vi) And if you don't stop playing with yourself, your elbow will never improve

Thank you for shopping at Tesco.

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