Yellowbook Shows True Colors

Yellowbook confronts the formidable challenge of selling marketing services to businesses grappling with the recession in a new campaign from Gotham.

Small-business owners are the core target of the effort, which launches today and features TV, online, radio and print ads. Accordingly, one TV spot depicts a male electrician unspooling and installing wire at a building, while another shows a female chef cutting homemade pasta in a kitchen. Banner ads take the form of questions such as, “How did Flowers by Jan find success?”

Each ad suggests that business owners should focus on what they do best and turn to Yellowbook for marketing help. And, to highlight the array of ad services the company provides, Gotham assigned a color and graphic icon to each. These include a red hand holding a business envelope for direct marketing and a green figure climbing steps for metrics reports. Collectively, the services are presented under the moniker of Yellowbook360.

Sally Camp, director of advertising, public relations and branding at Yellowbook, believes that the company’s tracking of marketing results is key to convincing business owners — many of whom are struggling to survive — to advertise.

“It’s tough. It’s a tough economy for everybody,” Camp said. “[But] because the results are transparent, you know what your campaign with Yellowbook is generating for your business. You can perform an ROI [check] and see that it’s actually generating some sales.”

Camp added that most small businesspeople “didn’t get into business to spend all their time doing marketing. So that’s where we come in.”


Yellowbook continues to embrace its namesake color in the campaign, but by introducing other hues, the company hopes to show that it’s much more than a directory and in the process, further distinguish itself from similarly named competitors such as the Yellow Pages, said Marty Orzio, chief creative officer at Gotham, an Interpublic Group shop in New York.

The main visual of the print and banner ads is a lemon, which takes on orange, purple and green stripes. “It’s just a beautifully simple element that is yellow,” explained Orzio.

The multicolor motif also appears in the TV spots, with the electrician installing different colored wire and the chef creating a rainbow of pasta. “Visit Yellowbook 360,” says a male voice in the chef spot, “and find out how to go beyond yellow.”

The spots will run on Fox News and during MSNBC programming. News Web sites like cnn.com, fastcompany.com and forbes.com will feature dozens of Yellowbook banner ads and four print executions will appear in Fast Company and Entrepreneur, among other magazines. Gotham also produced four radio ads.

The ads are planned to run through at least March, possibly later. Camp declined to provide a media budget for the effort, but the King of Prussia, Pa.-based company typically spends between $25 million and $35 million in major measured media annually, according to Nielsen data.

The latest effort from Gotham comes about a year after the agency launched a campaign directed at end users of Yellowbook.com. The previous effort used humor to make the point that “when you need something on a moment’s notice, that’s a Yellowbook moment.” The tagline was, “Yellowbook it.”