"I’m Tim Misny. I’ll Make Them Pay.”
Most Northeast Ohioans are well-acquainted with the personal injury lawyer’s catchphrase, hearing it in a zillion commercials or spotting it in one of the hundreds of billboards around town.
Misny’s bald head, furrowed eyebrows and pointing finger are as much a part of the message as the words themselves — which is why the lawyer decided, on one of his latest billboard designs, to cut out all the words entirely, instead zooming in on a simple image of his stern, critical eyebrows. The design first hit billboards in early October, according to a Misny representative.
The image has ignited conversations on Twitter, even drawing comparisons to the godly, symbolic eyes of Dr. T.J. Eckleburg from billboards in “The Great Gatsby.”
It got us wondering — is there a connection to the 1925 F. Scott Fitzgerald novel?
“No, that was not part of the thought process,” Misny says, “but the raised eyebrow has become kind of the core of the image of the billboard. I thought it would be a different approach just to do that, and that takes it to a level that I think is kind of funny.”
Misny, at 67 years old, has been practicing personal injury law for the past 43 years — many of those years featuring his unique advertising. Misny says he has about 240 billboards with locations as far west as Toledo, as far east as Ashtabula and as far south as Canton.
And there are his TV ads, too — the four-second “I’m Tim Misny, you know what I do” commercial hammers in his legacy in local law. (Read more about Misny in this 2012 Cleveland Magazine feature, “Welcome to Misnyland.”)
The lawyer is in on the joke, calling his marketing “a cult thing” at this point. He’s inspired Halloween costumes, a handful of songs (here’s one by Young Cam and one by Mayor Wertz), and scores of hilarious memes on social media.
Misny’s heard of plenty of the comments and says he even has seen “Make Them Pay”-inspired tattoos, all harkening back to his core branding.
“I think the reason it works — and it’s working remarkably well, beyond my wildest expectations — the reason why, is everything I do is organic in nature. I am who I am,” Misny says. “I was born here, I was raised here, I’m raising my family here. I love Ohio. I love what I do for a living. I think, organically, that translates.”