Historically Bad Advice

Stepping off a plane at BWI this weekend, I spotted an ad for Saul Ewing, the venerable Philadelphia law firm, across from the gate. Below a headline asking “Will you have the right counsel when you need it?” the ad featured a painting of General George Custer and a quote from an imagined advisor at the Little Big Horn. “General Custer,” the quote read, “I say we attack. What’s the worst that can happen?”

Unfortunately, I didn’t have my camera with me. Fingers crossed, I went to Saul Ewing’s homepage when I got home, and I was excited to find that the Custer ad is actually part of a larger campaign. (Found History readers may remember that this isn’t the first time this has happened.) Each of the four ads in the campaign features a different “historic” personage and the bad advice his lawyers may have given him, in each case to his tragic disadvantage. In addition to Custer, Saul Ewing invites us to consider the captain of the Titanic, the gatekeeper at Troy, and the chief architect of the Tower of Pisa.

Obviously this is questionable history, as Saul Ewing itself surely knows, but it’s pretty effective advertising and a clever use of history in the marketplace.

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