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Advertising and Marketing: Don’t be Scared to Include your Advertising Lawyer!

Most of us procrastinate when it comes to doing things we don’t enjoy. Unfortunately that sometimes happens when advertisers or agencies are told to “run it by Legal”.

The perception is often that the lawyer is the killjoy (“Oh no! Legal is SURE to say no!”); that they don’t understand the consumer; the market; the competitive pressures on the brand; etc. In particular, surely a lawyer (with all the stereotypical images that may evoke) is the antithesis of the creative, artistic advertising and marketing mind?!

While there is no doubt that legal is not as close to the front line of the business, or as steeped in the particular issues facing the brand, avoiding sharing creative ideas until the “11th hour” is usually counter- productive. Waiting until an idea is developed and finalized, with the client (an agency) invested in a particular execution or program, makes the lawyer’s job harder and increases the risk that there will be an unresolvable issue that could kill what could have been the next “great idea”. The risks of non-compliance with the myriad rules and regulations governing advertising and marketing are very significant – both financially, and to a company’s reputation – and your lawyer’s first responsibility is to steer you clear of those risks.

Better to involve legal at the concept stage, make them part of the development team so that potential pitfalls can be identified and avoided early on and great ideas can grow and bear fruit. Who knows, your lawyer may even have some creative insights to ensure that the great idea CAN be exploited to the max!

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