Mad at Ma Bell

TV commercial catches the fancy of CBS Morning News:  (use Flash player)

The situation: A young attorney, J. Marc Montijo, came to my office, recommended by a mutual friend. He laid out the problem: he was left out of the phone book. Naturally, being a lawyer, he was suing Mountain Bell, but in the meantime he needed some other advertising. Funds were, of course, severely limited.

My response was to simply have him tell the story on TV and ask people to remember the phone number. We would run the spots in short bursts, repeating them as we saw fit. I created the script, produced the spot in the CBS affiliate KOLD-TV's control room, and directed Marc on the studio floor.

When the commercials broke, Montijo's spot caught the fancy of the CBS Morning News. As a light touch to end the half-hour, Bob Schiefer and Diane Sawyer introduced the story about the lawyer in Tucson who couldn't get satisfaction, so he was suing the phone company.

Coming out of the video, Diane Sawyer laughed, "I knew it was wrong to let lawyers advertise."

Schiefer, also laughing, added that "Mountain Bell in Tucson says it regrets the error."

He asked the audience to return, then broke for a paid commercial.

It was a satisfying public relations dividend.

Closeup of Marc in studio limbo light.
He speaks directly to the camera,
holding a copy of his ad intended for the Yellow Pages
You won't see this ad in the Yellow Pages.
Now I'm a lawyer,
and people need a way to find me.

But the phone company forgot to print my ad.
Now that's a breach of contract,
so I'm suing Ma Bell.
  If you need to settle a breach of contract,
if you need legal help for a small business,
if you need counsel in a divorce
or personal injury…

Zoom out to full shot of Marc standing with a four-foot stack of phone books. If you want to insist on your rights, I can help.
I'm Marc Montijo, attorney.
Add to screen and hold to close:

J. Marc Montijo
Attorney at Law

My phone number is 881-4413.

Please write it down.

You probably won't find it in the book.

He kicks over stack of phone books, a little disgusted