Should legal be involved in the creative brainstorm to save time?
Over at Digiday we have this article: How brands deal with legal, and it in there's quite possibly the worst advice ever given:
Brands want to move fast and be innovative, yet there are big hurdles to that, notably the fact that legal often gets involved too late in the game and doesn’t approve what a brand has created.
To avoid this hurdle, digital leaders at brands say it’s important to include legal from the very beginning of the campaign-planning process. The legal team should be at the brainstorming meetings so that no time is wasted getting approvals at the end.
Not that it isn't logical, it would certainly prevent the Dr Pepper 2 girls 1 cup kerfluffle, but I can see how this would quell even an inkling of creativity. No lateral thinking allowed! No puns or double entendres that could be misunderstood! Oh, wait, that's a good thing, the puns at least. A ban on the double entendres would just make the Copywanker throw his notes in the air and yell "I'm done!". Meanwhile the Art Director snickers while making simple T-shirts.
It's understandable that one wants to save time in a fast moving digital world, and we have all seen the mistakes made on social media accounts when nobody vetted what was said (not just legal, anyone above 25 too) and a snowball of social media outrage against the brand started rolling.
And as Digiday points out, with brands like Rebook being ordered to pay $25 Million in customer refunds for overhyping how effective their fitness shoes were, legal has to keep an eye on what an ad actually claims.
How about legal be there when the brief is written? It seems to me that the brief arrives with the order to hype how super-awesome this power-bar is when you're sporting or training, but when legal see's the scripts written in response to that, they point out the super-food is actually just sugar and your claims of Herculean strength derived from the power-bar can't be made. Because, sugar. Do'h.
There's a really neat way to avoid getting into legal trouble with your ads, brands. Don't lie.