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“Is this the worst law firm holiday e-card ever?”

That’s the question posed to me by a friend who’d received it today from an international law firm.

I’ve often said how risky I think it is to mix business with a religious holiday card. I tell our clients not to even insert a business card inside a holiday mailing. People are very sensitive that it’s easy to seriously offend people when you’re just trying to send a friendly note and stay in touch.

I recommend staying 1000 miles away from anything that sounds remotely like:

“Happy holidays! Need a lawyer?”

Bulgaria Worst Law Firm holiday Card

Apparently this law firm is based in Bulgaria, where they might do things differently.  However, that’s an explanation, not an excuse. When you’re sending a mailing or communication to your entire database, you must be VERY careful – any mistake you make gets sent to everyone you’ve ever met or would like business from. So be careful!

The big marketing message here is that if you’re marketing into a culture that’s different from yours, always run it by a few members of that target audience to ensure that you get the tone right and don’t offend in some way you never saw coming.

Santa delivering Engagement Letters from major global companies? Hmmm.

This card is cute. The drawing is nicely executed.  But Santa carrying a giant bag of  legal work from Coca Cola, JP Morgan, Citi, and GE would seem to cross the marketing line.

Further, although I don’t have any specific information regarding the law firm’s relationship with these companies, I’d be surprised if the lawyers got permission from these companies to use their trademarks like this.  Big companies usually have formal policies against letting their law firms or other vendors use their trademarks in their websites or other marketing materials.

The card would seem to suggest that this law firm represents these prominent companies. This type of testimonial advertising can be very effective, i.e. if you need a Bulgarian law firm and you don’t know one, consider this firm because some highly credible companies already trust them.

That’s a good message, and I’m sure these guys are good lawyers.

But I still wouldn’t have recommended it.  But maybe that’s just me.

What do you think…?