- Trial lawyer in viral action-hero Super Bowl ad fought for airtime to vindicate slain brother
Trial lawyer in viral action-hero Super Bowl ad fought for airtime to vindicate slain brother
Posted Feb 4, 2014 4:10 PM CDT
By Martha Neil
It wasn't easy to persuade a local television station to sell Jamie Casino two minutes of advertising airtime during the Super Bowl, and the Georgia personal injury attorney won't say how much he paid to get it, only that it was "really expensive."
But the seasoned negotiator, a regular advertiser on Fox affiliate WTGS, eventually prevailed. He used what he describes as "street brawl" tactics and threatening to pull all of his advertising from the station for the next year if he didn't get the spot, the New York Daily News reports.
The result was a visually stunning, over-the-top Hollywood-style portrayal, amidst masterful special effects and heavy metal music, of a seeming action-hero attorney who stopped representing "cold-hearted villains" for big bucks after his brother was murdered and began speaking "for innocent victims who can't speak for themselves." Casino, 38, wields a flaming sledgehammer in a graveyard and makes a stop in a darkened church before a photo of his slain brother in a dramatic movie-trailer-like saga in which his appearances are interspersed with shots of headlines in a developing newspaper story about the murder and a boy asking the question: "Daddy, what do you do when you go to work?"
The ad—which begins with a quotation from the Bible, "Speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves, ensure justice for those being crushed"—is so unusual that many didn't seem to know quite what to make of it. Some reviewers, while positively impressed, said the ad was "completely nuts" and "insane."
Describing the Casino portrayed to viewers as a combination of Serpico, the Punisher and Optimus Prime, People said the "indescribably epic" ad "seems to cram every single action-movie cliché of the past 25 years into its brief running time: There's heavy blues-rock, grainy newspaper headlines, roses on a grave, a Bible passage, a scene in a church, and finally, Casino shown watching his young son while he sleeps. He also wears sunglasses and a leather jacket."
But in fact it is a dramatized, cinematic version of the truth, Casino told the Daily News on Tuesday, describing himself as "very religious." Casino's 30-year-old brother, Michael Biancosino, was shot to death over Labor Day 2012 weekend. And Casino was still angered by then-Savannah police chief Willie Lovett's initial public comment, just before Biancosino's funeral, that there were "no innocent victims" among four people murdered that weekend. So Casino wanted to use the Super Bowl commercial to vindicate his brother and the family name, for his parents' sake.
As the police chief later agreed, Biancosino and his girlfriend, Emily Pickels, 21, were apparently the victims of mistaken identity, killed in someone else's place as Biancosino drove Pickels home. Biancosino wanted to become a lawyer and had been working in his brother's law office.
The chief, who has since retired, told the Daily News that a suspect now awaiting trial in the case had been looking for someone else who drove a vehicle like Biancosino's, which had tinted windows. Another suspect in the slaying of Casino's brother was killed in a March shooting.
As of Friday, more than 5 million viewers had seen the viral video of Casino's ad on YouTube.
Philadelphia Daily News: "Jamie Casino speaks!: Local lawyer talks epic viral Super Bowl ad"
Rolling Stone: "Georgia Lawyer Turns Local Super Bowl Ad Into Revenge Fantasy"
Updated Feb. 7 to reflect the increased number of video viewers.