Wednesday, September 24, 2014

If only I had Photoshop, who knows where my business might go

Last week, I came across an article about a lawyer in California who’s likely to lose her license for six months because her web site had all sorts of pictures of her chumming around with famous people. Pictures that weren’t exactly for real. One step up from having someone snap a shot of you with your arm draped around a cardboard Fathead cutout, but phony baloney nonetheless.

I looked through the gallery of Very Important People on Svitlana Sangary’s publicity page. Many of them, I didn’t recognize. But there she is, tête-à-tête, with Bill Clinton. Hillary Clinton. Joe Biden. Al Gore. Barack Obama. And, from the other side of the aisle, Arnold Schwarzenegger and Donald Trump.

Non-political celebs aplenty: Morgan Freeman. Dr. Phil. Anne Hathaway. Leo diCaprio. Pierce Brosnan. James Gandolfini. Ellen DeGeneres. Warren Beatty. Alec Baldwin.

While I certainly have no problem with someone wearing the same outfit in so many of the pictures. Who among us doesn’t double up on the fancy outfits?  But really canny viewers, even if they don’t quite know who the celebrity is, might have noticed that the face, hair, angle, and outfit is exactly the same in a couple of the pictures.

celebrity onecelebrity two

Well, why let a good head shot go to waste, but you might not want to show them side-by-side.

Personally, I wouldn’t select an attorney based on whether they’d had their picture taken with John Stewart or one of the Kardashians. And Svitlana Sangary doesn’t exactly say that she knows these folks. But rules is rules, and the California State Bar recognized that the images were photoshopped, and considered it deceptive advertising.

Although the State Bar Court’s decision is awaiting approval from the California Supreme Court, the recommendation from State Bar Court Judge Donald Miles condemns attorney Svitlana Sangary’s “demonstrated lack of insight and her contemptuous conduct during these proceedings.”
In addition to concluding that she violated the Bar’s rules on deceptive advertising, Miles also notes that Sangary generally refused to cooperate with the investigation, according to the Recorder.

Miles also criticized the attorney’s “failure to remove the deceptive images from her website, even after the State Bar brought this issue to her attention.” (Source: Washington Post.)

Sangary sent the Bar a response in which she cited Natalie Portman’s winning an Oscar for Black Swan, even though her head was superimposed on a real ballerina’s body. Sangary also noted that she “recently received an email from President Obama, with the subject line ‘I need your help today’, asking SVITLANA SANGARY for an additional donation.”

I’ll have to keep all those e-mails from Elizabeth Warren that I’ve been getting…

All in all, it sounds like Sangary is a bit loosely wrapped. Maybe it’s because they’re both originally from the USSR, she reminds me quite a bit of Orly Taitz, the birther movement queen.

In describing her work on her own website, Sangary writes:

The Law Offices of Svitlana E. Sangary has developed a deserved reputation for utilizing the strategy and tactics of handling the case in to advance  the Clients’ success by delivering smart, aggressive, and creative representation, achieving victorious solutions, accomplishing Clients’ goals, and oftentimes even exceeding Clients’ expectations.

I have no doubt that she provided “creative representation.”

Her clients seem to return the favor.

On a scale of 1 to 10, Svitlana Sangary deserves to get a 15!
Ludmila Privorotsky

There are no famous names on the testimonial list, by the way, so it wasn’t as if she Larry King proclaiming her a 15 – make that a 15!

No, her reviewers are everyday folks like Mandy Tanny, Bogdan Polunets, and Semen (sic) Zikner. (Non-legal, free advice to Semen (sic) Zikner: you might want to consider changing that first name of yours. Have you thought about calling yourself Sam?)

But the whole thing gets me thinking about who I’d want to appear with, if I ever decide to set up a web site and include a publicity page. Of course, I already have my starter picture. That’s me – in real life - with Hall Pudge and Moeof Famer and Red Sox great Carlton Fisk. Not that I’d pretend for a moment that he endorses my skills as a marketer. But he probably could speak to my devotion as a lifer Red Sox fan, able to spot one of the old boys 25 years of so after he hung up his spikes.

But if I wanted to add to my rogues gallery, who would I Photoshop myself with?

They’re mighty cute, but what good would Pierce Brosnan or George Clooney do for my business?

Oh, well, if I do decide to Photoshop myself into a bunch of celebrity pictures, at least I’ll know better than to use the same head shot multiple times.

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