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July 13, 2012

On the Scene: Columbia DUI lawyer advertises on wristbands

Local attorney has an arresting campaign for clubgoers; Mr. B’s Goodtime Karaoke Explosion explodes

WALKING ADVERTISEMENT: When I woke up Saturday morning, I decided to call Bubba Cromer. Fortunately, I was in my own bed. When we finally spoke on Monday, Cromer, a local attorney, thought I needed his counseling.

“I was afraid you needed me as a lawyer,” Cromer said. “Good for you. Sorry for my business.”

I got Cromer’s number from the most unlikely of places: my wrist. Cromer has always had an interesting and quirky approach to advertising. Check out the Facebook page for Cromer Law Offices at DUIATTORNEY COLUMBIASC where you’ll see that he has reappropriated Vanilla Ice’s lyric, “If you got a problem, yo I’ll solve it.”

His wristbands are his most clever attempt to bring in business. The wristband, put on me after entering New Brookland Tavern to hear Can’t Kids play last Friday night, is white with black letters. There’s also a QR code leading you to Cromer’s website.

If you’re wondering, yes, Cromer has gotten some clients through the advertising, which is much cooler than an annoying TV jingle.

“With some small matters and a couple of big ones,” Cromer said when asked how the ad tactic worked. “I want to be on their minds, but I had no intention of them waking up in a jail cell with it.”

Cromer, who served in the S.C. House of Representatives from 1990-98, is known for eccentric ideas. He’s released two films, “The Long Way Home: A Bigfoot Story” and “The Hills Have Thighs.” The latter, released in 2008, is a comedic movie that tells the tale of a hillbilly abducted by space aliens and a group of women who search to bring him home. (In 2010, two cable channels mixed up his movie with a smutty flick with the same name.)

A DUI and criminal defense lawyer, Cromer also prepares legal documents. But he said businesses like, an online legal documentation service, are hurting him.

“People flock to it and it’s killing me,” he said. “And I’ve got to advertise how I can afford to.”

Google search “DUI lawyer Columbia SC” and Cromer’s firm is on the first page. Twice actually. But he said he’s still operating at a disadvantage against larger firms listed at the top of the results page.

“If I had the money, you’d see me at the top of the highlighted bar,” he said. “I don’t have that kind of advertising budget.”

Cromer said he’s spent a few thousand dollars on the wristbands. They’ve been placed on wrists at New Brookland Tavern in West Columbia and Red Hot Tomatoes and Sharky’s in Five Points.

“I thought it was a unique opportunity to get my name out there,” Cromer said. “I just thought it was innovative. There’re nothing wrong with using a sense of humor if you can.”

Even if the consequence of breaking the law is considered just a slap on the wrist, it’s always smart to have good counseling. And when it comes to the court proceedings, Cromer leaves the jokes at the door.

“I take the counselor part of my job seriously,” he said. “Lawyer is an important part, but I’m a counselor first.”

SEE YOU SOON: Mr. B’s Goodtime Karaoke Explosion, long considered the best karaoke on the scene, is being retired by its creator Chris Bickel. The Wednesday night karaoke was held at Art Bar for almost eight years.

“For myself, it is time to get creative and find new means of catharsis,” Bickel wrote in statement posted on Facebook.

Hopefully the creativity includes more productions like the brilliant “Plan 9 From Outer Space-Live and Undead,” the theatrical production based on a 1959 Ed Wood film. Or a reprise of his Vista Queen character. Whatever is next, it will surely be provocative.

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