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At the Round Table with Advertising Expert, Jon Bond

June 14, 2024

In this episode…

Communicating with a jury is a lot like pitching in the advertising world. It is crucial to communicate your opinion in a way that is easily understood by the audience, in a concise but thorough manner. While most do not have the same experience as our guest, Mr. Jon Bond, everyone has purchased a product or service based on advertising, and the parallel to jurors is intuitive.

Check out the entire episode for our discussion on expert expectations, storytelling, and more.

Note: Transcript has been lightly edited for clarity

Host: Noah Bolmer: Round Table Group

Guest: Jon Bond: Advertising Expert at TOMORRO LLC

Noah Bolmer: Welcome to Discussions at the Round Table, I’m your host, Noel Bolmer, and today’s guest is Mr. Jon Bond, an advertising world icon. He currently holds the title of Chief Tomorrowist at Tomorro LLC an innovative holding company focused on fostering high-potential digital marketing and media properties. Their ventures include recently acquired Black Book magazine, the ad fraud detection company, White OPS, and the ROI Optimization Tool Promodity. He’s a sought-after expert witness with over eight years of experience. Mr. Bond, thank you for joining me today at the Round Table.

Jon Bond: Thank you so much.

Noah Bolmer: Of course. Let’s jump into it. You have a storied history in the advertising space having founded the original guerilla marketing agency, one of the first digital marketing agencies and now a media holding company. How did you become involved in expert witnessing? I understand why people would want to have you as an expert witness but how were you first approached for it?

Jon Bond: A friend of mine does the expert witness gigs a lot more than me. He’s a marketing consultant and he had a case that had to do with an ad agency lawsuit against a brand and he asked me to help him with it because that’s my area of expertise. It was fun and from there people- I’ve only done six so far, but I’m 6 and 0. I like doing it because I [don’t] have [any] emotional attachment to it. When you’re pitching business and you win, [or] you lose. It’s competitive, emotional, and all of that but [with expert witnessing], I’m disassociated from the case. It’s nice not to be wrapped up in it. Advertising and law are very similar. It’s about making a good argument. The other side has this expert witness, but there are a lot of people that are professional expert witnesses. They’re expert witnesses on everything. Honestly, I usually run circles around them because I only do it when it’s something in my wheelhouse. There is no way they know anything compared to what I know about the topic, so it’s kind of fun.

Noah Bolmer: Let’s dive into that a little. Rather than being a professional expert witness, you think it’s better for somebody who’s actively engaged in their field of expertise and it’s not the first time that I’ve heard that. Tell me more about that. Why is it important to stay current and relevant in your field to be an expert witness?

Jon Bond: You look at these things. My experience with the law is that it’s reasonable and common sense usually wins. Unless you understand that industry, you’re not able to tell the story about what happened in the case. To me, it’s always clear and I’m able to go and say, “This is the normal way business is done and here are all the studies from whatever trade groups that show this is the right way to do it.” The other side did it differently, and not the way business is done in this category, in this sector. That is a common mythological approach. When I’m asked, I say, “That’s not how you do it” and I will show ninety-eight ways why the other way is better. Most people look at it and go “yeah.” That’s why mouth to God’s ears. I’ve never lost.

Noah Bolmer: Do you find that impeaching the arguments and the credibility of the expert witnesses on the other side is an important part of your job as an expert witness?

Jon Bond: No, I don’t have to- because what I present is usually at a whole different level, so it’s not necessary. And I’m not attacking anybody. I’m just saying that I’m always shocked at how bad they are-again, but in my world, which is a world with a lot of twists and turns, complexity, special, and not so simple.

Noah Bolmer: I’d like to back up to something you mentioned earlier, which was you had somebody show you the ropes or get you involved in expert witnessing. Were the expectations that they set you up with were what you observed and found to be the case once you became an expert witness or were there some surprises down the road?

Jon Bond: No, it was exactly what they said because the guy who brought me into it is a buttoned-up German guy and it was exactly the way he said. I did exactly what he said to do, but he was a perfect coach for this.

Noah Bolmer: Have you been in cross examinations or have your cases typically-

Jon Bond: Yes.

Noah Bolmer: –you have. Tell me about your preparation for depositions and cross examinations. How do you get yourself ready, mentally, and how do you get your materials ready so that you can answer the questions truthfully, neutrally, and on the spot?

Jon Bond: You read everything again and try to anticipate what they’re going to ask. Then you meet with your lawyer, and they tell you, “I’m not pushing you to think about one thing or another. It’s going to be what you think.”

Noah Bolmer: Absolutely.

Jon Bond: It’s identical to what I do for a living which is pitch brand. When you pitch in business, you get a particular argument. You know when you have a good one there’s no retort. Just “Oh” to answer to it so it’s the same. It’s so similar. There’s more protocol in the law, and that’s not my strong suit, frankly. My strong suit is logic. That’s the most important thing.

Noah Bolmer: As somebody who has to frequently pitch in your industry, what are some takeaways from the advertising industry that expert witnesses could [use]? What would you recommend as a way of convincing people and talking to people that is easy to understand without using a lot of jargon? What are some tips that you can bring from your industry for expert witnesses?

Jon Bond: I think, you have to address what the other side is saying or what they might say. Or what’s logical for them to say. Before, they’re challenging you with it. Where it is you have to go, “I’ve looked at this and you know, if I were them you could look at it this way, and you could look at it, and here’s why, those ways are not right. It’s logical, and here’s why this way is the most reasonable, the most fair, and again, is the common practice in this industry.”

Noah Bolmer: Is that also how you go about writing your reports with some of those considerations in mind?

Jon Bond: Absolutely. You have to come off as objective. If you’re too one-sided, it looks like it’s not credible. Looks like you’re the paid hitman or something. It’s important to be- look, and I believe this, I’m not making this up. But look, I’ve been doing the- let’s take the advertising marketing world for decades, and there are ways to do things and ways not to do things. For me to explain why that is, it is very authentic. It’s authentic. It’s never been an issue for me.

Noah Bolmer: Let’s talk a little more generally about being an expert witness. What about the job is important? Why is it important that we have expert witnesses, and why is it important that highly experienced professionals get involved in expert witnessing?

Jon Bond: It’s about the story. What’s the story? You know? And it’s not the law that said this and that, but I’m not the lawyer. And so, it’s an advantage because I can just look at it and go, “What’s is the story? How do I tell the story?” Now I’m uniquely qualified to do that. Expert witnesses who don’t know how to tell the story, I think should look up Storytelling 101. There’s a lot written on it, but it needs to have- to me, the best story wins. That’s my experience and anything with legal.

Noah Bolmer: Is that something you and your attorney strategize about before starting a case, a deposition, or before getting on the stand?

Jon Bond: Yeah. That’s the core of what I do. I get to the story. The lawyers are not always there.

Noah Bolmer: Absolutely. Before we wrap up, do you have any advice for newer expert witnesses in particular?

Jon Bond: You have to ask a lot of questions and learn what the role is so you can zero in on the area that is your strength and not be a lawyer who didn’t go to law school. Don’t try to be a lawyer and didn’t go to law school.

Noah Bolmer: Don’t try and practice law as an expert witness.

Jon Bond: Right. It’s a different thing. It’s called expert, right? What is the expertise that you can use to come at it from a place that has more credibility than the other participants, right? That’s the issue.

Noah Bolmer: Sage advice. Thank you, Mr. Bond, for joining me here today at the Round Table.

Jon Bond: Thanks, Noah. I appreciate it.

Noah Bolmer: Absolutely. Thank you to our listeners for joining me for another Discussion at the Round Table.

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After a quarter century helping litigators find the right expert witnesses, Round Table Group’s network contains some of the world’s greatest experts. On the Discussions at the Round Table podcast, we talk to some of them about what’s new in their field of study and their experience as expert witnesses.

At the Round Table with Advertising Expert, Jon Bond

Jon Bond

Our guest, Jon Bond is the chief ‘tomorrowist’ at Tomorro LLC (stylized TOMORRO\\\), a virtual holding company that operates as a consultancy. With over 40 years of experience in direct marketing, Mr. Bond is a sought-after expert witness, specializing in misleading/deceptive marketing practices, telemarketing, and call centers.