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Rowe & Maw this week effectively became the first corporate law firm to advertise on national television in a ground-breaking move for the profession.The ad was carried on electronic screens at the Olympic Stadium, Athens during England’s World Cup qualifying match against Greece on Wednesday (6.06.01).An estimated 12 million BBC1 viewers, tuning in to watch England’s 2-0 victory, saw the slogan “Rowe & Maw – lawyers for business” flashing up a number of times during the match.The exact cost of the advertisement was undisclosed but Rowe & Maw confirmed a price tag substantially in excess of £10,000.Despite advertising restrictions largely being removed in the UK over a decade ago, law firms targeted at business have so far been reluctant to advertise themselves in the mainstream media.Attempts by corporate firms to use mainstream media have been so far judged to be a mixed success, as in the case of last year’s much-criticised Saatchi & Saatchi Rowland campaign for the then Hammond Suddards.So far, the only law firm to advertise directly on national television is the personal injury specialist Underwoods, though the Law Society-backed claims handling service Accident Line has just launched a TV campaign.Rowe & Maw marketing head Chris Pullen told Legal Week that the response has been “overwhelming” and the feedback from clients “phenomenal”.“Differentiation is very difficult in the legal market and you’ve got to look for different ways to stand out in the crowd. The purpose of the football advertising was name recognition and brand building and from the response we’ve received so far, that was definitely achieved.”This is not the firm’s first effort to stand out from the crowd. Rowe & Maw was one of the first law firms to advertise in the national press when it placed ads in The Times and FT in 1995.The firm, which also intends to test cricket matches, is also currently sponsoring the Turner exhibition at the Tate Modern and soon plans to advertise on a series of billboards around EC3 and EC4.One firm hoping to go one better is Addleshaw Booth & Co, which is banking on international coverage thanks to its sponsorship of the 2002 Commonwealth Games in Manchester.

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