The past few days following the Christmas holiday have yielded several memorable SEPTA commutes to work. The buses are running on schedule with most of the holiday jumpers who enjoy flinging themselves onto the tracks in a desperate cry for attention help having already gotten it out of their system. The buses are also curiously quiet with many of the public and private schooligans at home for winter break.
While I’ve seen a few gems of humanity on the El — bustling to and fro, exchanging their holiday gifts for meth money at Wal-Mart or meeting up with their parole officers downtown — it’s a rarity to see the elevated trains and subway cars so devoid of people, allowing me to get a good look at some of the advertising that graces the bus interiors. Today was one of those rare days. And what to my wondering eyes should appear, but THIS:
Apparently, some Philadelphia attorney who happens to share the same name as the ubiquitous (and completely fucking irritating) teen singing sensation, has decided to capitalize on the fact that he has something in common with The Bieb.
Note, Justin M. Bieber, (Esquire) has had the foresight to differentiate himself from MTV’s newest darling by craftily inserting his middle initial into his name on the advertisement, lest you assume you may be represented by some 16 year old with floppy hair and a microphone tucked into his briefcase.
While I want to applaud this legal eagle on his marketing savvy, taking the proverbial lemon life has handed to him and squeezing some sweet, not-from-concentrate lemonade from it, I have to question his credibility. If he has so few clients that he has to attract business on the basis of his Google search-ready name he shares with a teen celebrity, I’m wondering how many tries it took for this dude to pass his bar exam.
Furthermore, what kind of self-respecting lawyer passes on those late-night infomercials or loud, unintentionally comical television commercials (Roni Deutch, I’m looking at you) in favor of advertising on public transportation?
It wasn’t until later in the day that I realized that there was a method to Justin M. Bieber, Esquire’s marketing madness. I had pondered the wisdom of advertising on a SEPTA subway car, wondering just who this message would reach. I received my answer on my commute home when, thanks to “a small third rail fire” at Allegheny station which backed up the El train for over an hour, I encountered a young twenty-something who was just released from the clink two weeks ago and who attempted to hit on me for a half hour as the bus stood stalled.
The ex-con in question informed me that he was returning from visiting his own lawyer in Center City and that his buzz was wearing off. He told me how he had debated with himself about whether or not to get drunk or high before visiting his lawyer and ended up opting to catch a buzz by pounding two 40’s before dropping in to consult with his attorney. He also mentioned that he would be stopping by the corner bodega after he got off the bus to re-ignite his dwindling buzz with a fresh 40 ounces of Olde E. (At least he had good taste in beer.)
The real kicker came when my seatmate on the stalled SEPTA train noted that his lawyer was helping him get a job with H&R Block at tax time since he “has skills” with “math and stuff.” I don’t know if Mr. H&R Cell Block went to the esteemed Justin M. Bieber to help him with his post-hoosegow life situation, but if he did, kudos to The Bieb, Esq. on making a return on his SEPTA advertising investment. Well played, my friend. Well played.
Upon finally arriving home, I sat down and contemplated the events of my day and found all this even more disturbing than the Justin Bieber blanket (the entertainer, not the lawyer) that I had come across on my Christmas shopping travels; complete with The Bieb’s smug, self-congratulatory smirk plastered all over its fleecy, 50″ x 60″ surface, just begging to be gifted to the squealing teenage girl or neighborhood pedophile in your life.
It’s still not as disturbing as the prospect of a Justin Bieber Snuggie. I hear he’s actually quite the proponent of the Snuggie. (Again, I’m referring to the entertainer, not the lawyer. Although maybe Justin M. Bieber, Esquire could further boost his clientele by incorporating a picture of himself wearing a Snuggie and a barrister’s wig in lieu of the cheesy MS Word clip art currently adorning his advertisement.) It’s kind of fitting that Bieber is quite the fan of Snuggies, going so far as to incorporate them into the lyrics of one of his songs. (Please don’t ask me how I know this. Really. It’s for the best.) They’re both equally omnipresent and equally baffling in terms of their overwhelming popularity among those with no taste.
Yep. Better stock up on those canned goods and fortify your panic room, kids. The end times seem to be just around the corner.