The untapped potential of YouTube as a promotional medium

You can launch political policies, bands and brands on YouTube, but perhaps not 1,000 page interim reports on litigation costs. Lord Justice Jackson will do his launch tomorrow with an old-fashioned press conference. Other things, however, bring the marketing and educational value of video to mind.

Lord Justice Jackson’s initial report on the reform of civil litigation costs is due to be launched at a press conference tomorrow, 8 May. There is an article in Times Online today by Neil Rose headed What will the Jackson report say? which summarises some of the things we might expect to see from what is rumoured to be 1,000 pages long – and that is just the interim report.

The article’s most important point comes at the end – this not a government-commissioned report. It was the Master of the Rolls, Sir Anthony Clarke, who asked Sir Rupert Jackson to undertake what was always going to be a vast and important task. The role of judges is central to any planned reforms and, one hopes, something which is immune from political pressures.

I will not be there, unfortunately. I long ago agreed to do an e-disclosure live video presentation for CLT Onlne which goes out at 1.00 tomorrow.  The bare reference in my slides to the Jackson Litigation Costs Review will be outdated by the time I get to it.

I am obviously keen to see what suggestions are made in the report about disclosure. Barrister Alison Potter of 4 Pump Court was responsible for covering electronic disclosure for Lord Justice Jackson, and I was asked to help give her a fast ramp into the subject. I did this by introducing her to a wide range of people and to written sources including, unsurprisingly, my own.

At one point, I half-planned to run an informal survey. The idea was to ask people what they would say if given two minutes to make a suggestion to Sir Rupert Jackson.  It concentrates the mind wonderfully if you have only a small space in which to say what really matters to you.

That brings me to the second major launch of tomorrow – a debut single called What really matters to me is being released in Leeds that night. The band is called The Phoenix Fall and the drummer is Charlie Dale, my eldest son. I will be off up to Leeds as soon as my video recording is over.  Their video is on YouTube.

The e-disclosure connection is tenuous, to say the least, but marketing ideas flow nevertheless. Consider these apparently unconnected  things which are all happening this week:

  1. I am doing that one-hour video on e-disclosure – it is of the talking-head-with-slides variety but the potential for more varied uses for video as a medium is attractive at a time when it is hard to get delegates to travel to presentations.
  2. I am also writing a set of mock case management hearings as a means of bringing life to the dry words of the rules and the recent judgments in Digicel, Abela and Hedrich. They are to be run at IQPC’‘s Information Retention and  E-Disclosure conference on 21 May and could easily transfer to video.
  3. Gordon Brown, the least telegenic political leader since Vlad the Impaler (whose smile, I suspect, was similarly chilling) has adopted YouTube as his platform of choice. Most of the 47,200 views of his risible MP’s expenses video came to mock, I suspect, but at least they came.
  4. I wrote an article about Richard Susskind (Richard Susskind webcast on the End of Lawyers?) , who has long predicted the absorption into the business world of what appear to be playthings, and who did so again in the webcast of which I was writing
  5. The Phoenix Fall extend their potential reach world-wide with a home-made video.

There is plenty of scope here to be inventive in finding ways to spread business, political and other messages and to find new audiences. One of the features of this recession has been a kind of pride in a more rough-edged approach to presentation in place of the highly-polished production values of recent years. Slickness is not as valued as it was and, indeed, has become associated with insincerity – a reaction, in the UK at least, against the tinselly gloss and insubstantial veneer of the Blair years. That cheap and cheerful attitude puts moving pictures within the reach of anyone with a video camera, a message, and some ideas. We have not begun to explore the marketing and educational potential of YouTube and, as one whose work is a mixture of marketing and education, I find it exciting.

I doubt we shall see Lord Justice Jackson on YouTube anytime soon, and an old-fashioned press conference remains the best way of introducing a 1,000 page report on a dry topic.  I am sorry I will not be there. Perhaps I should start work on the film treatment.

If anyone has views or ideas on ways to promote the e-disclosure message (or The Phoenix Fall come to that), I would be pleased to kick them about with you.


About Chris Dale

I have been an English solicitor since 1980. I run the e-Disclosure Information Project which collects and comments on information about electronic disclosure / eDiscovery and related subjects in the UK, the US, AsiaPac and elsewhere
This entry was posted in Civil justice, Court Rules, Courts, CPR, Discovery, eDisclosure, eDisclosure Conferences, eDiscovery, Electronic disclosure, IQPC, Litigation, Litigation costs, Litigation Support, Lord Justice Jackson. Bookmark the permalink.

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