3 Marketing Lessons from Better Call Saul

Last week, AMC’s “Better Call Saul” wrapped up its first season to rave reviews. The show, which spun off from Breaking Bad, had 6.9 million viewers on its series premiere and was also a huge hit on social media, racking up over 86,000 organic mentions.

Jimmy McGill, the show’s lead character played by veteran comedian Bob Odenkirk, is a lot of things: a crook, an antihero, a fast-talking con man. But he’s also not a bad marketer. And while the first season focuses on McGill’s struggle as a new attorney: boiler room office and all, he’s not doing so bad for a guy with a less-than-prestigious law degree. And, as we know, he goes on to become a monolithic producer of terrible, but effective, advertising in Breaking Bad.

So what can we learn from Jimmy McGill, Esquire?

#1 Go Where The Clients Are
better call saul bingo

The scenes where Jimmy is rolling through the nursing homes hawking his services are beautifully done, and while we may laugh at sponsored bingo cards, the logic isn’t far off. Great marketers can find, and tap into, the places where their potential customers congregate. For retirees, that may be bingo night, but for other demographics its musical festivals, sporting events or community fundraisers.

#2 Don’t be Afraid to Copy Success, Sort Of

jimmy mcgill billboard

For start ups and new products, existing marketing can provide a treasure trove of insights into consumer messaging. It’s always a great idea to look at your competitors marketing: where are they successful, and how can you succeed? In the case of Jimmy McGill, he noticed “blond man in a pinstripe suit” spelled success, and then decided to add in a touch of copyright infringement. But what he may have discovered about marketing attorney services: image is everything. But he could avoid looking like a cheap imitation by using lessons from HMM to create something new. Learning from competitors is great, but you need to self yourself apart from the competition to truly succeed – and avoid a cease and desist letter.

#3 Do Good

better call saul newspaper

Sure, Jimmy McGill’s savior stunt on the billboard was a sham that shouldn’t be copied – but the largest point holds true. Consumers love doing business with companies who love doing good. Studies have shown consumers are willing to pay X more for socially responsible goods [find study]. So, don’t go dangling off of billboards, but take a cue from companies like Home Depot which actively encourage their employees to do volunteer work in their community, or sponsor a local organizations. Although it doesn’t hurt if one of your employees accidentally becomes a local hero.