Boom 107.9’s tagline says it plays throwback hip-hop and R&B. That’s true. But listen to it for a little bit and you’ll also hear some of the same ads constantly. The one that stands out most is for “Attorney Big Al.” Philadelphia, like most cities, has a long history of strange, eye-catching ads for lawyers. There’s Allen Rothenburg, The Injury Lawyer. There’s Rand Spear, The Accident Lawyer. There’s Justin Bieber, Esquire. There’s “VIGILANTE LAWYER,” the mysterious ads that ran in the subway a while back. (Turns out the person’s last name is Vigilante. Here I thought this was a lawyer who worked… outside the law.) Then there’s Attorney Big Al. He’s a personal injury lawyer in Philadelphia, and the spokesman on his ad says he’s the best.
But it’s a line late in the ad that makes it so memorable. “Attorney Jason Fine is Big Al,” the spokesman says. What? Why go by Attorney Big Al when your name is Jason Fine? I pondered this question for months. Maybe a year. Then I realized that I’m a journalist and I can just ring up Fine himself and ask him.
Attorney Big Al is essentially a chain of personal injury lawyers. Fine pays the people behind Attorney Big Al to license the name. All calls to 1-800-HURT-123 are routed to the proper lawyer’s office by where the person is calling from.
The guy who came up with the Attorney Big Al concept was Alon Barzakay, a Florida lawyer. He signed up Fine in October of 2014. “Partnering with Jason Fine Law to bring the Big Al brand to Philadelphia is truly exciting,” Barzakay said in a release when he inked Fine. “Working together, we will grow Jason Fine Law while also helping more personal injury victims in the Philadelphia area gain access to the best legal assistance possible – when they need it most.”
Barzakay says it’s more than just a licensing deal giving exclusivity to the brand in the area: Clients also get access to the 1-800 number, access to the Big Al marketing campaign and the “ability to leverage the buying power of Big Al’s national advertising network.” Barzakay founded the Attorney Big Al network in 2011; there are also Attorney Big Al licensees in Florida, Atlanta, Baltimore, Dallas, Los Angeles, the Bay Area, San Diego and Washington D.C.
“My office manager actually knew about the campaign, and she introduced me to Alon,” Fine says. “All we do is personal injury. If we get calls for criminal and domestic, we have lawyers we refer out to. It’s all injury lawyers all across the country.… I think it’s a great concept.” Indeed, Attorney Big Al even has its share of detractors, who call the ads (and the character Attorney Big Al) misleading and “reprehensible.” Fine’s ads, though, are fairly clear that Attorney Big Al is, um, an ad campaign and not a real person.
Fine grew up in Richboro, Bucks County, and went to Council Rock High School, then attended college and law school in Delaware. He says advertising on Boom 107.9 is a particularly attractive part of the deal. “I love the station,” Fine says. “My first concert was Run DMC and Beastie Boys. Old school rap, the Sugar Hill Gang, that was what I grew up listening to. Every day. When I was approached, I said if I’m going to advertise I want it to be on a station I can listen to myself.” (Most of the Attorneys Big Al advertise on hip-hop and R&B radio stations.)
Fine, whose offices are in 8 Penn Center, had just moved from the 3rd floor to the 21st when I talked with him yesterday. Sounds like Attorney Big Al is doing big things for Jason Fine already.
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