Johnny Cochran is dead as a doornail. (Theories abound as to the death and doornail comparison, but the top vote-getter on Yahoo answers has something to do with old nails making a dead thud as opposed to a nice new ring.) Whatever.
The guy famously known for the line, “If it doesn’t fit, you must acquit,” in the O.J. Simpson trial went on to a lucrative law practice until his untimely death of a brain tumor in 2005. So why is his law firm still called The Cochran Firm? And why are they resurrecting his face on billboards around the country?
“Injured?” screams the billboard in bold red letters next to a top-to-bottom panel of Johnny Cochran’s headshot. And doesn’t that prompt a round of, “Yeah, I’m injured. My 401k is injured. My plan for a fabulous life is injured. My pride is, well, wounded.”
If you’re injured, the Cochran Firm hopes you think of Johnny and their law firm. They’re opening a slew of offices in 18 states. James Rolshouse, the firm’s lead attorney understands that name recognition is important to a strong brand. And the name Johnny Cochran conjures up images of a flamboyant lawyer, while Rolshouse is a blank slate.
Still, Johnny Cochran is dead. He cannot argue anyone’s case. Regardless of his face on the billboard, he is not among their “Aggressive Personal Injury Attorneys.” For the people at The Cochran Firm, it doesn’t really matter. Their brand’s dead guy is as good as any other.
It remains to be seen whether this is a strategy that will pay off. Rumors are that Paul Newman’s salad dressing is still selling well. A while back Natalie Cole made it to the top of the charts singing, “Unforgettable,” with her dead father’s tracks. If there were a few cool, dead guys who strongly represented the multimedia field, would we try to leverage their names? It’s worth considering.