By Chris Kramer
The idea that "Sex Sells" has become the marketing ploy of one all-female law firm that posted a billboard in Chicago with a simple message: "Life's Short. Get a Divorce."
And how did the firm of Fetman, Garland & Associates, Ltd. get its message about divorce across? By, of course, surrounding the text with pictures of tanned female cleavage bursting out from a black laced bra and the six-packed abs of a headless male torso.
This divorce billboard was the idea of Chicago divorce lawyer Corri Fetman, who said that she wanted to go beyond the traditional advertising means of divorce attorneys in suits to get her firm's services out to the public.
Fetman certainly achieved this goal with her divorce billboard. After being originally reported in the Chicago Sun-Times and featured on news broadcasts throughout the city, the divorce billboard and its ethical implications became a national story.
Not too many people who share Fettman's profession were too thrilled with the messaging and images on her firm's divorce billboard. After much protest from fellow divorce lawyers, the billboard was taken down on Tuesday night by the owners of a Gold Coast-neighborhood parking garage that it was attached to.
An ABC News story detailed some of the complaints surrounding this Chicago divorce billboard. John Ducanto, a past president of the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers, used adjectives like "grotesque, totally undignified" and "offensive" to describe the divorce billboard.
New York divorce lawyer Raoul Felder called the ad "a new low for the profession," while Karen Enright, the president elect of the Women's Bar of Illinois, added that it was also a disservice to the institution of marriage.
Rick Tivers, a Chicago clinical worker who helps people recover from divorce, was so upset with the billboard that he called on the Attorney Registration and Disciplinary Committee of Supreme Court of Illinois to sanction Fettman.
ARDC deputy administrator James Grogan said in the story that such actions would be highly unlikely as Illinois has traditionally held off from sanctioning lawyers for anything less than false or misleading advertising.
Despite causing the big hullabaloo, Fetman continued to express her satisfaction with the billboard. She called the divorce billboard "light-hearted" and said that it is highly unlikely that couples are going to see the billboard and rush out to get a divorce.
And Fetman even revealed the man behind the abs on the billboard in the story! Turns out that the abs were those of Fetman's personal trainer, Chuck Sanow.
Prior to its dramatic fall from grace, this short-lived billboard appeared in the affluent Gold Coast neighborhood, specifically in an area on Rush Street known as the "Viagra Triangle" for its three, trendy singles bars.